ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Billikens rose to 4-0 in conference play after a thrilling contest against Xavier University. The Bills topped the Musketeers 4-3 in 11 innings and are now 17-9 on the year. Freshman RHP Matt Eckelman (3-0) gets the win after hurling three innings of shutout baseball. He only allowed one baserunner and struck out four of the 10 batters he faced.
The game was a pitchers’ duel for most of the contest. Saint Louis senior RHP Alex Alemann threw eight innings with nine hits, three runs allowed, three strikeouts and four walks. His counterpart, Xavier’s LHP Jon Richard, also went eight innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, six strikeouts and three walks.
The fifth inning featured offensive explosions from both teams. Xavier put three runs on the board in the top of the frame. Then, in the bottom of the inning, sophomore Mike Vigliarolo came to the plate with the bases loaded and blasted a double to clear the bases. Through five, the game was tied at 3-3.
Nine innings was not enough to determine a winner in the contest. However, in the bottom of the 11th, the offense came together for the Billikens. Senior C.J. Rose led off with a walk. Danny Brennan entered the game as a pinch runner for him, signifying the tying run. Mike Levine put down a sacrifice bunt to move Brennan into scoring position. The next batter, Jake Henson, also walked to put runners at first and second with one away. Shortstop Alec Solé came to the plate after making two sensational plays on defense earlier in the game. With the game on the line, Solé ripped a single to CF. The outfield was playing in and Brennan rounded third attempting to score. Though the throw beat him to the plate, Brennan artfully avoided the tag and touched home to win the game for Saint Louis.
Tomorrow’s rematch between the two teams will again take place at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill. The game will begin immediately following the preceding game that begins at 1:00 p.m. Approximate start time is 4:00 p.m.