CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Billikens dropped the first game of the Atlantic 10 tournament for the second consecutive season on a 7-6 loss to Xavier. Matt Eckelman (6-1) gets tabbed with the loss, his first.
In the first, Xavier jumped out to an early lead with the first three hitters getting aboard, loading the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly scored the first run of the game.
Catcher Grant Nelson threw a snap throw to third to pick off the runner at third and starter Alex Alemann struck out the final batter of the inning to limit the damage to one. Saint Louis could not score in the bottom half, giving Xavier a 1-0 lead through one.
The Musketeers scored in the second on an RBI single to right, and again in the third on a sacrifice bunt to first. Through the opening three innings, Xavier carried a 3-0 lead.
The Billikens got on the board in the fourth on a Steve Fernandez double to right, scoring Braxton Martinez.
In the fifth, Michael Bozarth opened the inning with a double down the left field line. He advanced on a Jordan Hammerman single to right. Next was Alex Kelly, who worked the count full, then deposited a ball over the left field fence for his tenth home run of the year. Through five SLU led 4-3.
In the sixth, Bozarth roped a shot to left for his first collegiate home run and giving Saint Louis a 5-3 lead.
Xavier tied the game in the seventh on a two-RBI single to centerfield, but Alec Solé regained the lead on a bases-loaded, two-out walk in the bottom of the frame.
In the eighth, facing a 6-5 deficit, Xavier ripped a leadoff homerun to left to tie the game at six.
With two away in the ninth, a soft liner to left was misplayed by the Billikens to allow the go-ahead runner to score from second and give Xavier a 7-6 win.
Billikens will take on Richmond tonight at 4:00 p.m. CT and will be the visiting team.