The Saint Xavier baseball team kicked off the season this week with a three-game series in Athens, Tennessee, against the Tennessee Wesleyan University Bulldogs. The series began on February 1st.
The Bulldogs entered the series as number one in the country. Both teams played their first games of the season.
The game didn’t get off to a good start for the Cougars as they hit on every stroke in the half of the first inning.
The bottom half wasn’t much better for SXU as the Bulldogs completed two home runs and scored five runs to put them 5-0 ahead. Saint Xavier finally got things going in the second inning when infielder Tyler Hedman doubled over to left field.
The next batsman, catcher Matt Bunetta, hit a single square to the left, which Hedman hit and put the Cougars on the board 5-1.
The Bulldogs hit back in the third and fourth innings, where they combined four runs to extend their lead to eight runs. The fifth inning was better for SXU as they were back on the board thanks to a brace from Matt Monahan who scored a run. Outfielder Max Downs scored Monahan in the middle with a 9-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Tennessee Wesleyan held the Cougars back for the remainder of the game, eventually winning 13-5. Saint Xavier fell 1-0 with the defeat, while the Bulldogs improved to 1-0 with the win.
Games two and three of the series took place on February 2. Game two started well for the Cougars as they were first on the board thanks to an RBI brace from Matt Bunetta that scored a run.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Bulldogs completed three solo home runs in the lower half of the inning to create a 3-1 lead.
After a second two-run inning of Tennessee Wesleyan that increased their lead to four runs, the Cougars struck back in the third inning by scoring three runs on two straight singles to reduce Tennessee Wesleyan’s lead to just one run.
However, the Bulldogs hit back in the lower half of the third round, scoring two runs with a Bunt victim and a single to increase the lead to three.
From there it went downhill for the Cougars as they gave up nine more runs and only scored two for the remainder of the game.
The Cougars eventually lost 16-6. The third game was even worse for the Cougars as they only scored twice while making 11 runs to the Bulldogs.
Saint Xavier will leave Athens with a 3-0 record and will have a lot to think about. Saint Xavier didn’t have the best start to the season but with the talent they have on this team they need to focus on using that talent to their best potential.
The Cougars will play on February 8th and 9th when they play a four-game series against Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.