May 22, 2009
DAYTON, Ohio - Junior Bobby Freking went 3-for-4 with two RBI and No. 3 Xavier scored all six of its runs with two outs as it fought off elimination with a 6-3 win over fourth-seeded Massachusetts on Friday afternoon at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship from Fifth Third Field.
Seeking their first-ever A-10 crown, the Musketeers will square off against top-seeded Dayton at 7:00pm on Friday evening in an elimination game for both teams. Massachusetts' season comes to end with a mark of 27-26, its highest win total since 2003.
Xavier got things started with three runs in the top of the first against UMass starter Mike DiCato as shortstop Jordan Conley's single scored second baseman Drew Schmidt before Freking delivered a two-run double just over the outstretched glove of centerfielder Brian Baudinet. The Musketeers added a run in the second on a solo homer by catcher Billy O'Conner, his second of the season.
The Minutemen got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning as sophomore Kyle Multner homered to right, the first hit allowed by Xavier sophomore starter Ben Thomas on the afternoon. An RBI single by rightfielder Mike Donato scored Baudinet in the bottom of the fifth pulled the Minutemen to within 4-2.
However, XU responded with two runs in the sixth as third baseman John McCambridge stroked a two-out single to score Conley, who was hit by a pitch. Freking then scored the Musketeers' final run of the game as he singled with one out, advanced to third on a single by centerfielder Adam Pasono and scored as DiCato uncorked a wild pitch. UMass threatened in the bottom of the sixth as sophomore Mike Gedman and catcher Tom Conley opening the inning with walks.
With the bases loaded and one out and senior Brett Greenwell on in relief of Thomas, McCambridge made a diving catch in front of the mound and flipped to second for the inning-ending double play. UMass senior Sam Boone led off the ninth with a triple and came around to score on a single by shortstop Adam Tempesta but Conley got the final three outs to end the game. Thomas improved to 5-1 on the season after allowing two runs on six hits in five innings of work. Greenwell turned in a strong performance in relief of Thomas, yielding one run on two hits in three innings.
"Bobby [Freking] came up big for us in that first inning and that allowed us to put the pressure on UMass," said Xavier head coach Scott Googins, who led the Musketeers to their program-record 35th victory of the season.
"Greeny [Brett Greenwell] has been there as a senior and did a great job coming in and throwing strikes."
DiCato allowed six runs on eight hits over six innings to fall to 5-4 on the year. Freshman Glen Misho tossed three innings of scoreless relief in the losing effort for the Minutemen.