Baseball Takes First Game of A-10 Championship, 8-4, Over Charlotte

Junior Neil Lindgren went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, including a solo shot in the third

Junior Neil Lindgren went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, including a solo shot in the third

May 20, 2009

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DAYTON, Ohio - The Xavier baseball team won its first Atlantic 10 Championship opening round game since 2003 Wednesday with an 8-4 victory over defending champs Charlotte to mark the most wins in program history with 34. Back-to-back homers in the third provided the winning runs for the Musketeers, who will face No. 2 Rhode Island tomorrow.

Sophomore Ben Thomas went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI to lead the Musketeers. Juniors Neil Lindgren and Bobby Freking both had multiple-hit games as well.

"Zac did an unbelievable job for us. We missed him this year," said Xavier head coach Scott Googins, who led the Musketeers to their first win in the opening round of the Championship since a 6-3 win over Duquesne in 2003.

Xavier (34-18) got on the board first in the second inning after sophomore Ben Thomas reached with a single up the middle. Senior Jordan Conley was walked and both runners were moved over on a sacrifice bunt by junior Bobby Freking. Thomas was able to make it home on a ground out by senior Steve Brown to give the Musketeer the early 1-0 advantage.

Charlotte (32-21) had two costly errors in the third inning, starting with a throwing error on the third baseman that allowed senior Billy O'Conner to reach first. With junior Drew Schmidt at the plate, the pitcher attempted to pick off O'Conner and his throwing error enable the Musketeer catcher to make it to third. Schmidt grounded out, plating O'Conner, and junior Neil Lindgren followed with a solo shot over the left field fence, his fourth homer of the season. Thomas was up next and on the second pitch he saw he sent the ball out of the park, over the center field fence directly above the 402 marker (his team-best 15th of the year). After three complete, the Musketeers held the 4-0 lead.

After another failed pickoff attempt sent sophomore John McCambridge running for second he was able to make it to third on a balk. With two outs, senior Adam Pasono singled in McCambridge to collect an RBI on XU's fifth run of the afternoon. Pasono made it to the hot corner after stealing second and a wild pitch. The Niners would get out of the inning with no more damage as XU headed into the fifth holding the 5-0 margin.

The 49ers got on the board in the fifth as Aaron Bray singled in Justin Wilson for CHA's first run of the game. Another single put runners at first and second with two outs but the next Niner batter flied out to left to end the frame. XU remained in control, 5-1.

After back-to-back singles and a walk the bases were loaded in the bottom of the fifth. Freking stepped to the plate with one out and doubled to the left center wall scoring all three runners and collecting three RBI. Xavier surged out to a seven-run lead, 8-1.

Zane Williams led off the sixth frame for the Niners with a solo shot over the left field fence to notch Charlotte's second run of the contest. The Niners would put up two more in the eighth but it would not be enough as XU took the contest, 8-4.

Junior Zac Richard (3-0) got the win for the Musketeers after throwing a career-high 7.1 innings. He gave up four runs on eight hits and struck out two while walking two. Sophomore Brian Muransky provided 1.2 innings of relief.

Joe Yermal (8-3) took the loss for the Niners as he threw 3.2 innings. He gave up five runs (one earned) on five hits and fanned one while walking one.

The Musketeers return to action Thursday with a 3:30 matchup against second-seeded Rhode Island at Fifth Third Field.