Catcher Daniel Rizzie and the Musketeers open the BIG EAST Championships against Creighton on Thursday.
May 20, 2014
CINCINNATI - After squaring off in a three-game series at XU's Hayden Field last weekend, Xavier and Creighton will meet again in the opening round of the 2014 BIG EAST Conference Baseball Championship presented by New York Life. The two teams will take the field at 4 p.m., Thursday, May 22 at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Xavier (26-26) earned the No. 4 seed in the championship after closing with an 8-10 conference record, while Creighton (30-16-1) picked up the top seed after winning the regular-season conference championship with a 14-4 mark in league play.
The two teams met just last weekend for three games in Cincinnati. Three homeruns powered the Musketeers to a 9-4 victory in game one, but the Bluejays rebounded for a 7-2 win in the second meeting. It took extra innings, but Creighton pulled out a 7-6 decision in the 12th to nab the series.
Nittoli (5-3) boasts a 2.07 ERA and has struck out 59 batters, while only issuing 16 walks. Rizzie leads the Musketeers with 37 runs scored and has driven in 32 runs in the process. He also ranks tied-fourth in the conference with 15 doubles.
Xavier leads the league with 33 homeruns on the season, including a team-best six from Derek Hasenbeck. XU's designated hitter is also hitting .305 with 33 runs scored and 26 RBIs. Bruening, a centerfielder, holds a .296 batting average with 14 RBIs and 15 runs scored against BIG EAST competition.
After picking up the win in Xavier's game against Creighton on Thursday and then tossing an inning of relief on Saturday, Klever (6-5) lowered his season ERA to 3.40. He leads the Musketeers and ranks second in the BIG EAST with 92.2 innings pitched.
The first five games of the tournament, including Xavier's opening round game with Creighton, are being streamed live on the All-Access page of www.BIGEAST.com. FOX Sports 1 will air Sunday's title game.