Dual-threat Nittoli and the Musketeers welcome Villanova this weekend.
April 10, 2014
CINCINNATI - A BIG weekend at Hayden Field is set for Xavier baseball as it takes on Villanova in BIG EAST action and joins the fight to end childhood cancer with the Vs. Cancer Foundation. The Musketeers (17-14, 3-0) sit atop the BIG EAST after a sweep of Georgetown last weekend, while the Wildcats (10-19, 2-1) are tied for second with Butler.
The home conference series is Xavier's first since joining the BIG EAST last July. Villanova won the only game between these two teams. The lone meeting came in 2012 when the Musketeers fell, 7-2, at home.
XU comes home after splitting two games of midweek action in the Joe Nuxhall Classic in Oxford, Ohio. Xavier lost to Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday, but rebounded with a victory against Wright State Wednesday, 3-2.
Joe Forney continues to swing a hot bat with 10 hits in the last five games, raising his batting average to .307. Forney is tied for the BIG EAST lead with 13 doubles (tied for 15th nationally). Derek Hasenbeck keeps producing for the Musketeers at the plate by building his average over the last five games to .325 with 15 walks.
The weekend rotation is back in action after the series sweep of the Hoyas last weekend. Adam Hall (4-1, 4.53 ERA) is second on the team for innings pitched (45.2) and strikeouts (21). Scott Klever (4-3, 4.10 ERA) is the workhorse for Xavier, pitching 52.2 innings over eight starts. Vinny Nittoli (3-2, 2.03 ERA) leads XU with 33 strikeouts and has allowed just nine earned runs over seven starts.
Villanova comes into Hayden Field after taking two games from St. John's last weekend and suffering a loss to LaFayette Tuesday, 6-3.
Max Beermann leads Nova with a .343 batting average and 35 hits. The Villanova pitching staff sports a 5.13 ERA and holds opponents to a .295 batting average.
First pitch for Friday is set for 3:00 p.m. followed by a 1:00 p.m. start on Saturday. Following Sunday's noon game, 15 members of the team and athletic trainer Jody Jenike will shave their heads as part of a fundraiser with Vs. Cancer, benefiting the foundation and a local hospital.GoXavier.com will provide live video broadcasts and statistics throughout the series.