Xavier baseball wins back-to-back Big East Tournament championships – Cincinnati.com
Xavier’s Zac Lowther had his coming out party during the 2016 NCAA Tournament, and later in the 2016 Cape Cod Baseball League. Now, he attracts regular attention from scouts and scouting services.
The Enquirer/Patrick Brennan
Xavier baseball is going back to the NCAA Tournament.
The Musketeers (32-25) upset 42-win St. John’s University Sunday, 7-6, in the championship round of the Big East Conference Tournament at Omaha, Nebraska’s TD Ameritrade Park.
The win sealed the conference title for Xavier, which it has now won two years in a row and in three of the last four years.
The Musketeers went 3-0 at the Big East Tournament. They swept St. John’s over two games this week at the conference’s double-elimination tournament.
A victory over host Creighton University Friday night allowed the Musketeers passage to Sunday championship round, which would have extended to a winner-take-all evening matchup had St. John’s won.
Xavier twice overcame three-run deficits at 3-0 and 6-3 to win Sunday’s game against St. John’s, which is still expected to make the NCAA Tournament field as an at-large program.
A four-run seventh inning put Xavier ahead for good.
Junior Will LaRue, who went 3-for-3 at the plate on the day, singled in the eventual game-winning run in the seventh.
Freshman Conor Grammes, who banged out three of the team’s eight hits, scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a single that started the Musketeers’ massive seventh inning rally.
While LaRua and Grammes did most of the hitting, seven Xavier batsmen each recorded one RBI.
Sophomore righty Trey Schramm went the final two innings to close out the championship. His save included stranding the leadoff St. John’s batter in the eighth inning and a perfect ninth to eliminate any threat of a Red Storm comeback.
Senior lefty Brad Kirschner picked up the win after he came on for 2.2 innings of scoreless middle relief.
Senior lefty starter Trent Astle got off to a rocky start, allowing six runs, three walks and nine hits in 4.1 innings.
The entire, 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday (noon, WatchESPN).
Xavier’s would-be path back to Omaha for the College World Series could become slightly clearer Sunday night when the NCAA Tournament will announce the 16 host sites for the regional round of the tournament. The announcement will be made on a live Facebook stream at 8:30 p.m.