June 2, 2014
NEW YORK – Xavier’s run in the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championship came to an end Sunday when the Musketeers dropped a heartbreaking 11-8 loss to Oregon in 10 innings. Xavier finished its season with a 30-29 mark.
XU plated five in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 3-0 deficit. Andre Jernigan’s three-run homer capped the scoring in the inning and gave the Musketeers a 5-3 lead heading into the seventh. After the seventh inning stretch, Daniel Rizzie hit another three-run home run to extend Xavier’s lead to 8-3.
Errors began mounting for Xavier. One error took place in the top of the eighth before Kyle Garlick’s three-run bomb brought the Ducks back within 8-6. In the ninth, the XU defense committed three errors that led to a pair of Oregon runs, and it was an 8-all game headed to extra innings.
One error led directly to Oregon’s first run in the top of the 10th, when Michael Moore failed to catch Stephen Schoettmer’s throw from third base on a sacrifice bunt attempt. The go-ahead run scored, and the Ducks added two more to take an 11-8 lead. Xavier went down quietly in the bottom half of the inning and Oregon advanced.
The Musketeers advanced to Sunday after topping Clemson 6-4 in the losers’ bracket on Saturday. XU bounced back from an 11-0 loss Friday to Vanderbilt, the region’s top seed and host. Patrick Jones’ double plated Rizzie to put Xavier up 1-0 in the bottom of the first before Clemson rallied for one run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mitch Elliott, the BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, drove home Schoettmer with an RBI single down the right field line to tie the game. He stole second and then scored on Rizzie’s double to right center to give the Musketeers a 3-2 advantage.
Rizzie added another RBI single in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to third on a throwing error that also allowed Elliott to score. Rizzie came home on a wild pitch to cap off a three-run inning, and XU led 6-2 entering the eighth.
Clemson had one final push left. Steve Wilkerson’s two-run homer in the top of the eighth shaved Xavier’s lead to 6-4, but Sean Campbell, who pitched masterfully in relief in an elimination game in the BIG EAST Tournament last week, settled down and retired five of the next six batters to end the game for his first save of the season.
Rizzie finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored twice, while Brian Bruening was 4-for-4 and Elliott went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Scott Klever tossed 6.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one to pick up his seventh win of the season. He was on the mound in the seventh when the game went into a lightning delay that lasted nearly two hours, but was relieved by Campbell when play resumed.