BIG Implications Are On The Line For Xavier In Its Final Home Series

Kuykendoll joins many other seniors in their final series at Hayden Field.

Kuykendoll joins many other seniors in their final series at Hayden Field.

May 14, 2014

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CINCINNATI - The Xavier Musketeers and the Creighton Bluejays meet at Hayden Field for a three-game series starting Thursday afternoon. The series will mark the closing of the regular season in the BIG EAST for both teams.

XU (25-24, 7-8) holds the fourth spot in the conference standings and needs two wins to clinch the last position for the BIG EAST Championship next week. The Musketeers snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over Bowling Green, 7-0, Tuesday afternoon. Xavier held BG scoreless and gave up just two hits.

Catcher Daniel Rizzie is enjoying a hot-streak over the past five games, recording 11 hits during that span. Rizzie and Joe Forney are on the heels of cracking the all-time top-ten for doubles in a season (17) with 15 and 16, respectively. Outfielder Patrick Jones had a quality game at the plate Tuesday by going 2-for-2 with a run, an RBI and three walks. Senior Mitch Elliott returns home for the first time since March 1. Elliott, known for his speed, has eight stolen bases through 12 games.

This weekend marks the final home series for multiple XU baseball seniors. Joining Elliott for their last three games at Hayden Field are fellow seniors Stephen Schoettmer, Markus Kuykendoll, Vinny Nittoli, Tres Eberhardt, Michael Moore, Jake Forrester, Scott Klever, Bo Slemons and Joey Noble.

Klever and Nittoli will get starts on the mound for the Musketeers. Klever (5-4) has dropped his ERA to 3.44 and leads Xavier in innings pitched (83.2). Nittoli (5-3), tied for fifth all-time for career starts (48) and two career strikeouts away from 10th all-time (172), holds a 2.15 ERA and leads XU in strikeouts with 52. Eric Stiene (3-2, 2.03 ERA), allowing just nine earned runs over 40 innings, gets the other weekend start.

CU (28-15-1, 12-3) tops the BIG EAST standings and is one game up on St. John's. Creighton took two games from St. John's last weekend and is coming off a 10-8 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

Reagan Fowler tops all Bluejay hitters with a .356 average and 14 doubles. Mike Gerber is the power hitter for CU. Gerber has 10 long bombs this season and adds 10 doubles to his .516 slugging percentage.

Matt Warren (9-1, 2.00 ERA) is the ace for Creighton, holding opponents to a .210 average through 76.1 innings.

The first game of the series is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. Live statistics and free video streaming will be available through GoXavier.com. Game two will be a 3:00 p.m. start on Friday, while game three is set to begin at noon on Saturday.