Baseball Loses Heartbreaker at Xavier
ST. LOUIS - The Billikens suffered a tough 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Xavier. Two errors in the bottom of the 12th inning allowed two Musketeers to score and defeat the Bills. Saint Louis falls to 22-11 overall and 5-5 in the Atlantic 10. Xavier is 15-19 overall and 5-2 in conference action.
The pitching in the contest was unparalleled. Junior RHP Alex Alemann threw eight innings, allowing three hits, four walks and only one run. Xavier starter Vinny Nittoli went seven innings, with no runs, six strikeouts, two walks and four hits.
To start the game, both starting pitchers dueled back and forth for five innings. Alemann allowed three baserunners through the first five, while Nittoli allowed five. Alemann had only one hit through the first five frames.
The Musketeers broke the shutout in the sixth. A leadoff walk, followed by two ground outs put a runner on third with two outs. Xavier then hit a single up the middle to score a run and gain a 1-0 lead.
The Bills were unable to respond until the top of the ninth. With two outs and the game on the line, freshman Mike Vigliarolo ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single. He was replaced on the basepaths with senior Jerry Mancuso, representing the tying run. Senior Connor Gandossy strode to the plate. A passed ball in the at bat moved Mancuso into scoring position. Gandossy rose to the occasion by shooting a single up the middle, scoring Mancuso from second and tying the game 1-1.
Senior RHP Travis Parker entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and was excellent. He not only shut down the Musketeers in the ninth, but in the 10th and 11th as well.
In the 12th, Gandossy led off with a double to left field. Freshman Alec Solé laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Gandossy to third. Senior Marco DiRoma drove him in with a single to centerfield to give the Billikens a 2-1 lead.
Parker ran into a rough patch in the bottom of the 12th. Xavier led off with a quick double, but Parker responded with a strikeout. A costly error by Grant Nelson put runners at second and third with one away. The tying run scored on a groundout to short. Parker dug deep and got a grounder from the next batter, but Solé could not field it cleanly and the winning run scored.
Despite picking up the loss, Parker did not allow an earned run in the contest. He has now gone 26 innings without allowing an earned run, dating back to last season.
Saint Louis will seek redemption tomorrow at noon when they play game two of the three game series in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sophomore Clay Smith will take the hill for the Billikens.