Trent Astle fires complete-game shutout; Xavier wins Big East title
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Freshman hurler Trent Astle pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout and senior outfielder Mitch Elliott was named the tournament's most outstanding player as Xavier captured the Big East championship on Sunday afternoon.
Astle (5-4) got the call to stat the championship game and performed masterfully. The first three pitches of the game were out of the strike zone for Astle, but the southpaw calmed his nerves and was nearly unhittable the rest of the way. Only five Bluejays reached base all day on three hits, a walk and one hit batter.
The win not only gives Xavier the league championship in its first season as members of the Big East, but it also sends the Musketeers to the 2014 NCAA tournament. XU will learn its destination on Monday, May 26, when the field is announced on ESPNU at noon ET.
Elliott put together a tremendous tournament to earn a spot on the all-championship team and the most outstanding player award. He went 8-for-18 (.444) at the dish, with two extra-base hits, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Teammates Sean Campbell, Daniel Rizzie, Joe Forney, Derek Hasenbeck and Astle joined Elliott on the all-tournament team.
Elliott drew a one-out walk in the third to get the Musketeers started. Forney followed with a single to right field that was misplayed by Creighton's Ben Lahn, allowing the speedy Elliott to score from first. Rizzie then delivered a sacrifice fly to plate the second run.
Xavier (29-27) scratched across another run in the fourth to extend its lead to 3-0. Stephen Schoettmer and Elliott each singled, setting up Forney's RBI base knock.
Three consecutive hits in the fifth resulted in two more runs for the Musketeers and a five-run advantage 5-0. The streak began with Brian Bruening's single and, following a double by Andre Jernigan, ended with a two-RBI single from Schoettmer.
The five runs on the board were all that Astle and Xavier's defense needed to secure the Big East championship. The loss dropped Creighton to 32-17-1.
Five Musketeers registered a pair of hits in the game, Elliott, Forney, Rizzie, Jernigan and Schoettmer. Schoettmer led XU with two RBIs.
With the win against Creighton, Xavier officially eliminated all three other teams from the tournament, marking the first time that has happened in the Big East since Villanova accomplished the feat in 1991.
The Musketeers have only reached the NCAA tournament one other time in program history. The 2009 team won the Atlantic 10 championship and earned a berth into the tournament, where it went 1-2.