Bruening and the Musketeers fight to stay perfect in the BIG EAST this weekend.
April 16, 2014
CINCINNATI - Xavier baseball travels to Butler Thursday afternoon for a three-game BIG EAST series. The Musketeers (20-15, 6-0 BIG EAST) carry a spotless conference record and sit atop the conference, while the Bulldogs (14-21, 2-4 BIG EAST) are tied for fifth with Villanova.
Xavier leads the all-time series with Butler, 48-29. XU defeated BU in Louisville earlier this year, 9-3.
After the sweep of Villanova at home this past weekend, Xavier failed to score a run against Cincinnati and dropped game one of the season series, 2-0.
Brian Bruening has thrived in BIG EAST play with hits in all six contests this year. The redshirt junior hits for a .254 average for the year, but his average climbs to .407 in conference action. Joe Forney continues to be consistent at the plate with a .298 average and a BIG EAST-leading 45 hits and 14 doubles.
The weekend rotation has been key to Xavier's success in BIG EAST play. Adam Hall (4-1) carries a 5.36 ERA through 47 innings for XU. The duo of Vinny Nittoli (4-2) and Scott Klever (5-3) held Villanova scoreless in their Saturday and Sunday starts. Nittoli boasts a 1.72 ERA with a team-high 35 strikeouts and has allowed just nine earned runs over 47 innings. Klever, CollegeSportsMadness.com's National Pitcher of the Week, returns to the bump for the first time since his complete-game shutout of Villanova last Saturday. The senior righty dropped his ERA to 3.50 through 61.2 innings.
Butler is in a four-game slump after losing all three games against St. John's and falling on the road in extra innings to Purdue Tuesday, 5-4
Quincy Quintero, Ryan Wojciechowski and Marco Caponi recorded two hits each against Xavier in the last meeting between these two squads. Chris Maranto leads all Bulldog starters with a .328 average.
Game one between the Musketeers and the Bulldogs is set for 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. Friday's first pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m., while the series finale on Saturday starts at 1:00 p.m. ButlerSports.com will provide live stats and video for the whole series.