Xavier Baseball Travels To North Carolina For A Weekend Series
Feb. 20, 2014
CINCINNATI - Xavier baseball, which is off to its best start in almost 30 years, will travel to North Carolina for a three-day weekend series against the nationally-ranked Tar Heels. The first pitch for the series is set to start at 3:00 p.m. on Friday and then Saturday at 2:00 p.m. XU and UNC will close the series with a 1:00 p.m., start on Sunday.
Xavier came out of South Carolina last weekend a perfect, 3-0, the best start in XU baseball history since 1985. For their efforts, redshirt freshman Andre Jernigan was named BIG EAST Player of the Week and redshirt sophomore Adam Hall made the five-member honor roll. Jernigan went 6-for-11 at the plate while scoring five runs, including the winning run in the 13th inning against Norfolk State. Adam Hall took the mound against Toledo in the season opener. The Dublin, Ohio native pitched six strong innings while only giving up two hits and one earned run.
Seniors Vinny Nittoli and Scott Klever started in the other two weekend games. The versatile Nittoli pitched five innings and gave up just four hits and no earned runs against Furman for the Musketeer victory. At the plate, Nittoli went 3-for-10 with one RBI and two walks. Klever pitched five innings, striking out six of the 23 batters he faced versus Norfolk State. Freshman Greg Jacknewitz picked up the relief win Saturday after striking out two in the 13th inning.
North Carolina comes into the weekend ranked 14th in the NCBWA poll and 12th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Tar Heels visited College of Charleston for a three-game series covering Saturday to Monday. UNC lost two of three on the road trip with its lone win being a 12-3 victory Sunday afternoon.
The Tar Heels are led by junior shortstop Michael Russell. Russell boasts a .400 batting average and leads the team with four RBIs and three walks. Sophomore righty Trent Thornton had a flashy start in UNC's lone win. Thornton struck out 10 while pitching only six innings in the winning effort.
This is the second time XU will travel to Chapel Hill in the past two years. Xavier and North Carolina met for a three-game series two years ago with UNC taking the series two games to one. The weekend series will also be the home opener for the Tar Heels. The game on Friday (3:00 p.m.) will be live through UNC's GoHeels TV .