Xavier Cruises To 8-2 Win In First Game Of A-10 Championship
May 22, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Fourth-seeded Xavier posted an 8-2 win over No. 5 George Washington in the opening game of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship Wednesday morning at the Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.
A lead-off walk by Mark Elwell in the first inning gave Xavier (31-24) its first base runner. Elwell scored on Derek Hasenbeck's double to right center. Xavier then capitalized on three miscues by George Washington (25-31) to push across another two runs in the stanza.
The Musketeers tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning to stake a 5-0 lead. Tres Eberhardt hit a towering double to center field to score Stephen Schoettmer and Elwell, who reached on a single and hit-by-pitch, respectively.
Vinny Nittoli hit a scorching ball at GW's shortstop Matthew Murakami and Joe Forney followed with a single through the right side to put runners on the corners for Patrick Paligraf in the seventh frame. After Forney was picked off at first, Paligraf delivered a looping RBI single to shallow right center.
Jon Richard cruised through the first eight innings, allowing just two hits, but GW finally broke through with two runs on three hits in the ninth before Richard shut the door. The complete-game effort was crucial in preserving Xavier's bullpen for the four-day, double-elimination tournament. The second-team all-conference honoree improved to 9-4 on the year and his nine wins lead the conference.
Xavier received contributions throughout the lineup. Eberhardt, Paligraf and Chidemo drove in two runs, while Elwell and Nittoli scored twice. Hasenbeck, Paligraf, Elliott and Schoettmer also scored a run in the game.
George Washington starter Luke Staub worked six innings, giving up five runs and three earned runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out five Musketeers. Jacob Williams tossed two-thirds of an inning, surrendering three runs on three hits. Brian Derner closed out the final 1.1 innings for GW.
Xavier will meet No. 1 Saint Louis (36-18) at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. The Billikens shared the regular-season crown with Charlotte and Rhode Island, but earned the top seed due to tie-breaking procedures. XU and SLU met for three games in St. Louis earlier this season, with the Billikens taking the series, 2-1.