Gellenbeck, young arms leading Musketeers into Hayden Field

By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~

Newswire photo by Thomas vonAhlefeld | The Musketeers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes this Sunday, marking their first home game of the 2017 season.

The Xavier baseball team enjoyed the warm southern temperatures last week as it took on Charlotte, Georgia and Southern Mississippi during the course of a 10-day road trip during spring break. It played eight games and finished with a 3-5 record, picking up one win against each team. It went 1-2 against Charlotte, split with Georgia and went 1-2 against Southern Mississippi.

Senior Joe Gellenbeck, the preseason Big East Player of the Year, was once again named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for his performance during Xavier’s road trip. He hit .353 across the five games last week while notching three RBI’s and scoring three times himself.

The pitching staff has struggled at times, holding a 4.00 team ERA, but sophomore Matt Kent and freshman Conor Grammes have fared well in their first outings of the season. Kent has thrown over 15 innings without allowing an earned run while striking out 11 and only walking three batters. Grammes has a 2.45 ERA over seven and a third innings pitched.

At the plate, Xavier is hitting .233 as a team, with junior Rylan Bannon providing a lot of the offense. His four homers are a team best, and his 11 RBIs are second only to Gellenbeck’s 12.

Looking at the rest of the Big East, Xavier is right around the middle of the pack with a 7-9 overall record. St. John’s is off to a blazing start, sitting at 12-2 overall and ranked 19th in the nation. It doesn’t matter what happens in the non-conference for the Musketeers. The most important games will be during the conference season when they will have a significant chance to play for an NCAA tournament berth.

Xavier will finally get a chance to play in front of its home fans this weekend, when it returns for a game against Ohio State at Hayden Field on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.