By Jake Geiger, Staff Writer
Xavier Baseball boasted a noteworthy run in the Big East Tournament at the end of May, falling just short against the Connecticut Huskies.
The Muskies finished the regular season with a 15-11 record, good for the fourth and final seed in the Big East Tournament. The other teams in the tournament — which was hosted at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio — included the one-seed UConn, the two-seed Creighton, and the three seed Seton Hall.
Xavier’s pitching carried them to the championship game of the double-elimination tournament, but their efforts were not enough to lead them to the College World Series, ultimately finishing as runners-up.
Xavier opened the tournament on May 27 against UConn and took a brutal 11-1 loss. The Musketeers then played Seton Hall in a win-or-go-home game. A long rain delay gave Xavier more preparation, as they would eventually go on to win 4-2. Junior outfielder Luke Franzoni drove in two runs in the fifth inning to give Xavier a 2-1 lead. Junior pitcher Lane Flamm started the game for the Musketeers and pitched a strong seven innings, only giving up two runs. Xavier added two insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, and graduate pitcher Trey Schramm — in his record-breaking 100th appearance — came in to convert the save.
Xavier faced another elimination game against the Creighton Blue Jays on May 29. Creighton scored a quick run in the first inning, but sophomore pitchers Ethan Bosacker and Jonathan Kelly kept Creighton scoreless the rest of the game. Bosacker pitched seven innings while Kelly capped off the final two. Xavier scored two critical runs in the third inning, just enough for them to advance to play the Huskies once again.
Both championship games were played May 30, and Xavier had the tall task of winning both games to be Big East Champions. Xavier opened the day with a 5-4 win to give the Musketeers a chance for a berth into the College World Series. The win came via five runs in the seventh inning, as junior outfielder Andrew Walker and graduate student catcher Natale Monastra hit back-to-back home runs.
The winner-take-all second game began later that day, and Xavier got off to a slow start. UConn scored five runs in the fourth inning, giving the Huskies a 5-1 lead. Xavier never recovered, falling 10-6. While Connecticut advanced to the College World Series with their Big East Tournament win, Xavier finished its season with an overall 28-26 record.