Late Rally Pushes Xavier Past Eastern Kentucky
CINCINNATI – For the second game in a row, Xavier won in dramatic fashion. After an extra inning win over Fordham on Sunday, Xavier scored twice in the final inning to get past Eastern Kentucky (9-16), 4-3, in non-conference action at Hayden Field on Tuesday.
Trailing 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Musketeers used three hits to plate two runs and take the game. Collin Salzenstein led off the inning with a one-out single through the left side. James Schlosser followed up with a single of his own through the right side and great hustle by Salzenstein found Musketeers at first and third with one out. Jay Johnson followed with a sacrifice fly to shallow right field and Salzenstein beat out the attempt at the plate to tie the game at 3-3. However, the key play in the game saw Schlosser advance on the throw to the plate and put himself into scoring position for the potential game-winning run. Andy Zellers came in the game to run for Schlosser after the great hustle and after an Adam Lipski walk put runners at first and second, Drew Roberts stepped to the plate. The sophomore delivered the clutch game-winning hit through the left side of the infield to plate Zellers and seal the victory for the blue and white.
Eastern Kentucky lit up the scoreboard first as the Colonels delivered two runs on four hits in the top of the first inning. The first three batters for EKU reached safely on base hits.
Xavier finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth as Mark Janszen singled through the right side to start the inning. Janszen later scored on a single by Schlosser to pull XU within one at 2-1 after five.
The Colonels scored its final run of the game in the sixth after a leadoff double by O’Dell turned into a run from a sacrifice fly and pushed the EKU advantage to 3-1.
XU would plate one run in the eighth before mounting its comeback as a leadoff double by Sean Brewer started the late rally. Chris Dunlap replaced Brewer on the base path and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Chris Lozan to make the score 3-2 after eight innings of play.
Schlosser led the way for the Musketeers as the senior finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with one RBI and a hustle play that setup the game-winning run. Janszen and Brewer both ended the day 2-for-4 with Janszen scoring a run. Senior Brett Smith picked up his first win on the mound this season after relieving Mark Grissom. Smith only allowed one run on three hits and struck out one, while Grissom scattered eight hits only giving up two runs and also recorded a strikeout. Senior Jay Johnson finally ended his 10-game hitting streak one game shy of his career-high 11 games. Johnson had hit successfully in each game since game two against UMass on March 26, raising his average 71 points over that stretch.
This was only the third game Xavier was involved in all season that neither team committed an error and the 14th time this season that the Musketeers have recorded 10 or more hits in a game.
The Musketeers, now 13-20 overall, will host the University of Cincinnati tomorrow, April 12, at Hayden Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.