Joe Forney drove in the game-winning runs in the sixth inning.
April 19, 2013
CINCINNATI - Xavier defeated Charlotte, 5-3, on Friday night at Hayden Field, increasing its win streak to seven games and put some distance between the two teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings. Jon Richard (6-2) pitched eight strong innings to help Xavier improve to 21-15 on the season, including 8-2 in the A-10, and move two games ahead of Charlotte, which fell to 22-16 overall and 6-4 in the conference.
Xavier struck for a pair of runs in the home half of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Jake Forrester drilled a shot back up the middle to score Vinny Nittoli and Tres Eberhardt. Forrester finished the game with two RBIs and a run scored.
Charlotte evened the game just a half inning later, stringing together three hits to score its two runs. The Niners added a third run in the fifth, using a walk and a double to take a one-run lead, 3-2.
The game-winning rally for Xavier came in the sixth inning. Derek Hasenbeck and Forrester both reached to start the inning and Selby Chidemo laid down a sac bunt to move the runners. Mark Elwell drove in Hasenbeck with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, evening the score at three.
After Patrick Paligraf was hit by a pitch, a balk was called on Charlotte's pitcher moving Forrester and Paligraf into scoring position. Joe Forney delivered a clutch single up the middle to plate the go-ahead runs as XU took a 5-3 lead.
The two-run cushion is all the Richard needed. Xavier's ace allowed just six hits and three walks in giving up three earned runs. Richard's eight innings pitched moves him to 329 for his career, a total that ranks third all-time at XU.
Alex Vice entered in the ninth and, after walking two Niners with one out, secured the final two outs for his sixth save of the season.
Xavier has been on a tear lately. In addition to winning seven-straight games, the Musketeers have won 10-of-11 and 15 of their last 19.
The second game of the series will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hayden Field. The contest will be streamed live at GoXavier.com.