A RUN TO REMEMBER Xavier baseball's memorable 2016 surgE
TWICE AS NICE: XU TAKES TOURNEY CROWN IN ABERDEEN, MD.
Xavier remained on fire heading into the BIG EAST Championships – hosted at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium – winning against St. John's and beating Creighton twice to grab a second title in three years.
Senior catcher Dan Rizzie had a memorable tournament and raked his way to Most Outstanding Player honors, going 5-for-5 with a run scored and a pair of RBI against Creighton in the title game.
He finished the tournament with a .571 (8-for-14) batting average, scoring four runs and driving in six – including a walk-off in against St. John's on Thursday and a crucial three-run double in Friday's win against Creighton.
After earning an off-day on Saturday by virtue of a 2-0 record against St. John's and Creighton, Xavier came back to face the Bluejays a second time in the title bout on Sunday. The Musketeers received two-run homers from Rylan Bannon and Joe Gellenbeck in the fourth inning, coming from behind and hanging on late to cap an exciting tournament.
Garrett Schilling coaxed the final out on a grounder to short, where BIG EAST Player of the Year Andre Jernigan made a big-time play to close the door on Creighton. Another dogpile ensued.
DANCING INTO THE REGIONAL FINALS
Playing at beautiful Hawkins Field, the Musketeers defeated top-seeded Vanderbilt by a score of 15-1 to open regional action.
The Musketeers fell in game two to UC Santa Barbara, but rebounded to win that evening's elimination game against Washington, moving onto a regional final for the first time in program history.
Despite a season-ending loss to UCSB – an eventual College World Series participant – the Musketeers placed five players on the Nashville All-Tournament Team.
As a team, the Musketeers hit .317 (80-for-252) during postseason action with eight home runs and 47 RBI.