May 22, 2009
DAYTON, Ohio - Senior Billy O'Conner reached base five times and third-seeded Xavier scored five runs in the seventh with two outs as it overcame an early 2-0 deficit to knock off No. 1 Dayton on Friday evening, 11-3, in an elimination game for both teams at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship from Fifth Third Field.
Seeking its first title in program history, the Musketeers (36-19) advance to the finals for the second consecutive year and will square off against No. 2 Rhode Island on Saturday at 12:00pm. If XU wins game one, a final contest will be played at 3:30pm.
After scoring all six of its runs with two outs in a 6-3 victory over UMass earlier in the day, XU scored nine of its runs with two away in the nightcap en route to capturing its school-record 36th win of the season.
Dayton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an RBI triple by catcher Scott Dunwoody in the second inning and a run-scoring double by senior Marshall MacDonald in the third off Xavier starter Josh Deeg. The Musketeers got on the scoreboard in the third as O'Conner stroked a one-out single, advanced to third on a single by second baseman Drew Schmidt and scored on a fielder's choice by senior Neil Lindgren. XU then took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth with three runs on just two hits off UD starter Eric Wagner but capitalized on a pair of walks.
Leftfielder Steve Brown drew a one-out walk in the fourth and came all the way around to score on a double by John McCambridge. Brown slid just underneath the tag of Dunwoody to even the score at 2-2. Following a walk to senior Adam Pasono, O'Conner lined a two-run single to center to give the Musketeers a 4-2 advantage. Dayton threatened in the top of the fifth as Jacob Spaeth and Zach Jacob opened the inning with singles. Xavier's Brian Muransky was called on to relieve Deeg and after fanning MacDonald, the sophomore got rightfielder Aaron Dunsmore to line into an inning-ending double play. Muransky allowed just one hit while striking out three over three innings as he improved to 6-2 on the season. Deeg allowed two runs on eight hits while fanning three in four innings of work.
"Josh did a great job giving us four innings and Brian's experience at the end of the game was huge. For him to get out of that inning without allowing a run was big," said Xavier head coach Scott Googins, whose team set a program record with its third victory in the Championship.
"We have some great leaders and we've been here. We don't feel pressure because we have been in tough situations."
Xavier's five-run seventh was highlighted by a two-run single by Pasono and run-scoring singles from McCambridge, Schmidt and first baseman Bobby Freking. McCambridge collected three hits and three RBI on the evening, while O'Conner added four hits and drove in three.
"Playing doubleheaders is never easy but we were able to finish our game against UMass, stay hot and get back on the field and I think that was an advantage tonight," said O'Conner, who added a stolen base and threw out a runner attempting to steal.
Freshman Eric Wagner (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season allowing four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings. Jacob led UD with three hits, while designated hitter Jonathan Castine slugged his eighth home run of the season in the eighth inning for the Flyers' final run of the evening. The loss overshadowed a memorable 2009 campaign for Dayton, which won a program-best 38 contests and its first-ever A-10 regular season crown.
"Our goal as a program was to win championships and become a top program in the A-10 and winning the regular season title and earning the top seed is a credit to our seniors and their leadership," said UD head coach Tony Vittorio, the 2009 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
"You always want to play another game but it wasn't in the cards tonight but I'm proud of the guys."
No. 3 Xavier 6, No. 4 Massachusetts 3
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.
No. 2 Rhode Island 9, No. 1 Dayton 2
DAYTON, Ohio - Jeff Cammans, Oliver Palmer and Dan Rhault each collected a pair of RBI singles and junior Nick Greenwood tossed eight solid innings as second-seeded Rhode Island moved one step closer to capturing its second title in program history as it turned aside top-seeded Dayton, 9-2, on Friday afternoon at the 2009 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship from Fifth Third Field.
URI (37-18-1), which won its lone A-10 crown in 2005 at Fifth Third Field, advances to Saturday's final round and will play either Dayton, Massachusetts or Xavier at 12:00pm. If necessary, a winner-take-all contest will be played at 3;30pm. Vying for its first league title in program annals, Dayton (38-18) will face the XU-UMass winner at 7:00pm this evening.
"I thought our approach at the plate was great today," said Rhode Island head coach Jim Foster, who has led the team to a program-best 37 wins this season.
"We got on top of a lot of balls and I think we had four or five two-strike hits. It was a little bit of everything today. They did a real nice job."
Rhode Island jumped on Dayton starter Quinn Haselhorst (8-5) for three runs on four hits in the top of the first, highlighted by run-scoring singles from Rhault and Cammans. The Flyers tried to answer in their first at-bat as second baseman Zach Jacob doubled and senior Marshall MacDonald reached on an infield single with one out. However, Greenwood kept UD off the board as Greenwood got Aaron Dunsmore on a ground out and fanned shortstop Cole Tyrell to retire the side. URI pushed its advantage to 4-0 in the second as centerfielder Kenny Burns singled, stole second and scored on Palmer's bloop single down the leftfield line.
Dayton's first two batters reached base in the second as designated hitter Jake Hoover singled and advanced to second on a hit by freshman Max Navalinski. However, Greenwood escaped harm as third baseman UD Jimmy Roesinger grounded into a double play and catcher Scott Dunwoody grounded out to third to end the inning. URI broke the game open in the top of the sixth with four runs on five consecutive singles, including RBI hits from Palmer Rhault and first baseman Tom Coulombe. It marked Rhault's 60th RBI of the season, a program single-season record.
Dayton added a run in the eighth as Dunsmore's RBI single scored senior Jacob Spaeth but the Rams' turned their four double play of the game in the inning and Greenwood notched his fifth strikeout of the afternoon to retire the side. The southpaw scattered 10 hits and fanned five as he improved to 7-3 on the season.
"Coach says all the time that a pitcher's best friend is the double play and I was able to get a lot of ground balls today. When I needed it, I got it," said Greenwood, who did not walk a batter on the afternoon and has issued just 16 free passes in 92.1 innings pitched this season.
"They are a real good fastball hitting team so I just tried to get ahead and use my changeup and curveball, which were good today."
Outfielders Kenny Burns and Zoey Angulo each collected three hits apiece on the afternoon, while Rhault scored three runs and Cammans knocked in three for URI, which pounded out 18 hits on the afternoon.
Jacob paced the Flyers offensively with three hits, while Haselhorst allowed eight runs on 13 hits over 5.1 innings while making his school-record 50th career start.