Senior Jordan Conley went 2-for-4 with an RBI versus Kansas State. Photo by Anthony Vasser
May 29, 2009
HOUSTON - In its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Xavier baseball team dropped its first game to second-seeded Kansas State, 16-8, Friday afternoon at Reckling Park on the campus of Rice University. In the double-elimination format, XU will play the loser of the Sam Houston-Rice game Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.
Despite battling a stomach bug, junior Bobby Freking led the Musketeers at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. Seniors Jordan Conley and Steve Brown also had multi-hit games for Xavier.
Kansas State (42-16-1) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first after tallying five hits in the frame. The Wildcats' Jordan Cruz collected two RBI with his double to center field.
Xavier (38-20) threatened in the third after senior Adam Pasono led off by taking a base on balls. Senior Billy O'Conner single to center and both were moved over on a ground out at first. Junior Neil Lindgren was walked to load the bases but the Wildcats were able to get out of the inning with no damage and held on to the four-run lead.
The Wildcats' Justin Bloxom knocked out a solo shot to right in the bottom of the third and with two on, Cruz struck again, this time with a homer over the scoreboard. KSU loaded the bases and with two outs Nick Martini's single scored two more followed by a double from Bloxom to give K-State eight runs in the frame for the 12-0 lead.
The Musketeers got some offense going in the top of the fourth as three straight singles scored XU's first run of the contest. With the bases loaded and no outs, O'Conner was hit by a pitch to bring in another run and junior Drew Schmidt hit into a double play allowing sophomore John McCambridge to come home. After three and a half, the Muskies trailed, 12-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Musketeers put out the first two Wildcat batters but a bad hop sent the ball over senior Jordan Conley's head to put a runner on first. Bloxom sent out his second long ball of the day, this one over the right field fence as well, to give KSU two more runs in the frame. In the bottom of the sixth, Carter Jurica tripled off the right field wall, bringing home two Wildcats as KSU stretched its lead to 16-3.
Sophomore Ben Thomas doubled in Schmidt in the seventh and moved Lindgren around to third with Conley up. He singled to plate Lindgren but was thrown out at second on the play and Thomas was brought home on a ground out by junior Bobby Freking as XU cut K-State's lead to 10, 16-6.
XU would pick up two more runs in the ninth after freshman Danny Rinck was walked and Freking blasted out a two-run shot to left, his third of the season. The Wildcats ended up with the 16-8 victory over the Musketeers.
Junior Zac Richard (4-1) took the loss for the Musketeers after tossing 2.1 innings. He gave up eight runs on eight hits and walked one. Sophomore Tommy Shirley provided a third of an inning of relief followed by freshman Shane Liska who threw three complete innings for XU. Freshman Tyler Koors closed out the game for Xavier, putting in 2.1 innings of work.
Lance Hoge (6-4) got the win for the Wildcats. He threw five complete, giving up three runs on eight hits and struck out two while walking two.
Xavier is set to face the loser of Friday's nightcap between fourth-seeded Sam Houston and top-seeded Rice at 3 p.m. on Saturday.