Baseball Wins First-Ever A-10 Championship with 10-1 Dismantling of Rhode Island
May 23, 2009
DAYTON, Ohio - The Xavier baseball team won four games in 28 hours to take the 2009 Atlantic 10 Championship hardware home Saturday evening for the first time in program history with its 10-1 dismantling of No. 2 Rhode Island. Senior catcher Billy O'Conner was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and five other Musketeers joined him on the All-Tournament team.
Joining O'Conner were sophomore third baseman John McCambridge, junior starting pitcher Zac Richard, sophomore designated hitter Ben Thomas, junior first baseman Bobby Freking and senior shortstop/relief pitcher Jordan Conley.
In the title game, junior Neil Lindgren led the Musketeers' offense, going 3-for-four with an RBI and three runs scored. Thomas was 2-for-3, scored two runs and tallied three RBI for the contest.
Xavier (38-19) scored four runs quickly to kick start its offense in the first inning. O'Conner took a base on balls and came around to third on a double from junior Drew Schmidt. Junior Neil Lindgren singled in O'Conner to put two on with no outs. Thomas was up next, sending his school-record tying 16th long ball of the season over the right field fence for three RBI and giving the Muskies the 4-0 lead.
The Musketeers got another run in the third on three hits as Freking's ground-rule double plated Lindgren to put XU up, 5-0.
The fifth inning brought three more runs for the Musketeers as Conley's fielder's choice scored Lindgren and Freking doubled in Conley. Senior Steve Brown's single to left sent in Freking and Xavier took the commanding 8-0 lead after five.
Rhode Island (37-20-1) finally got on the board in the seventh on back-to-back singles, scoring Jeff Cammans who was on second after a balk.
Pinch hitting for Brown in the seventh, senior Sean Farrell tallied an RBI with a fielder's choice that scored Thomas and McCambridge did the same with a sacrifice fly out that sent home Conley. Neither team would score again in the game and XU took the 10-1 victory and the championship title.
Richard (4-0) recorded the win for Xavier after throwing six scoreless innings. He struck out a career-high six batters while walking only one. Senior Joe Kohler recorded the save for the Muskies, his first of the season, as he tossed three innings giving up one run.
Ken Graveline (6-2) took the loss for Rhode Island after putting in three innings of work. He gave up five runs on six hits and fanned two while walking one.
With the win, the Musketeers earn their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament with the A-10's automatic bid. Host sites and brackets will be announced on Monday, May 25, at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.