Xavier opens season against Florida State, defeats the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats, 3-2

Photo courtesy of goxavier.com | Sophomore third baseman Conor Grammes hit his first home run of the season in the series finale against Florida State on Sunday. Last season, he had a team-best .341 batting average and slugged seven home runs.

Xavier baseball began its 2018 season over the weekend against the fifth ranked Florida State Seminoles. Xavier is eyeing its third Big East Tournament in a row and seeks to advance to another NCAA tournament.

Xavier opened its season tested in a three-game series against an elite Florida State program.

Though Xavier dropped all three games to the Seminoles by scores of 11-1, 7-2 and 5-1, the Musketeers competed against top competition.

In opening series of the season, Xavier wasted no time in giving its youngest players experience.

Head coach Billy O’Conner did not allow his young guys back down, allowing several freshmen to see the field and throw some innings on the bump.

Xavier threw freshman Trevor Olson in game one. The left-hander has big shoes to fill after the departure of standout Zac Lowther, who now pitches for the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Other freshmen arms that took the hill over the weekend included Sean Douaire, Henry Miller and Evan Miller.

Preseason All-Big East member and sophomore infielder Conor Grammes picked up right where he left off from his freshman season.

Grammes recorded five base hits in 12 at-bats, including a home run in the fourth inning of the series finale.

Grammes is a versatile player for the Musketeers, being able to play third base and designated hitter while also having the ability to take the mound from time to time. Expectations are very high for the underclassmen this season.

The team entered the week looking to bounce back from its losses to Florida State.

The Musketeers faced No. 8 Kentucky on Tuesday night and won 3-2.

Xavier took a quick 2-0 lead with a two-RBI single off the bat of freshman Allbry Major. After Kentucky tied the score, the game went to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th inning, graduate senior Joe Gellenbeck lined a double and advanced to third on an error.

Xavier seized a 3-2 lead in the same inning when sophomore catcher Natale Monastra, who came in the game for senior Nate Soria, hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

Junior Trey Schramm shut down the Wildcats in 48 pitches in relief to seal the victory.

By: Tim Kramer ~Staff Writer~