CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Saint Louis outlasted Xavier, 6-4 to advance to the conference championship game tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. CT. Marco Mejia (3-2) gets the win, throwing four scoreless innings with one hit and a strikeout. It is the most innings Mejia has thrown in his career.
Entering the today’s game, Saint Louis and Xavier met four times, with each team winning two games. Each team had scored 21 runs on the other. In the previous meeting, Xavier handed SLU a loss in the first Atlantic 10 tournament game.
The Musketeers opened up the scoring in today’s contest, putting four runs on the scoreboard in the first three innings. The Billikens answered back in the fourth, scoring one on a Steve Fernandez single up the middle, and another on a Michael Bozarth sacrifice fly. Saint Louis knotted things up in the fifth, with Mike Levine hitting a sacrifice fly and Fernandez drawing a bases loaded walk. Through the first six innings of play, Xavier and Saint Louis were tied at four.
In the eighth, Bozarth hit a one-out single to left to start the Billiken attack. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. Grant Nelson ripped a single to the shortstop, allowing Bozarth to reach third. With runners at the corners, Alex Kelly laced a shot to third that was booted, allowing Bozarth to score, giving SLU a 5-4 lead. The next hitter, Mike Vigliarolo blasted a double to deep center, scoring Nelson. Kelly tried to score, but an excellent throw and relay from Xavier caught him at the plate. Entering the ninth, the Billikens led 6-4.
Mejia returned to the hill in the bottom of the ninth to face the top of the Xavier order. He got a grounder to second on his first pitch for a quick out. The next batter grounded to short. The final out came on a grounder to second. Mejia threw 55 pitches, his previous season high was 36.
Vigliarolo went three-for-four on the day with a run and an RBI. In the tournament he is seven-for-17 with two doubles.
The Billikens will take on Charlotte tomorrow in the championship game. If the Bills defeat the 49ers in the first game, they will play again 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game. First pitch in game one is slated for 11:00 a.m.