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Baseball: Matt Stevens’ homer powers Judson past Saint Xavier, puts Eagles in driver’s seat of CCAC tourney

Updated: May 5, 2014 10:44PM



Judson’s powerful bats have the Eagles in prime position at their conference tournament.

Matt Stevens hit a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning Monday and Cameron Balough went deep for the second straight game at the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, with Judson beating Saint Xavier 6-2 at Elgin’s Hoffer Field.

Judson (40-16) is the only team still unbeaten through two days. St. Francis, CCAC regular season co-champ with Judson and the tourney’s top seed, was upset Monday by Trinity Christian 12-3.

“I don’t think we can be in a better position,” said Stevens, a St. Charles native. “Everybody is hitting and playing well.”

Tied 2-2 with one out in the seventh, Judson jumped ahead as Stevens lifted a towering drive that sailed over the fence in left for a solo shot.

“It was either going to be out or caught,” Stevens smiled,” so I enjoyed it.”

Judson’s collective hearts skipped a beat in the bottom half. Saint Xavier loaded the bases with two out off Andrew Bergmann, but Thomas Keating’s long drive was hauled down at the fence in center by Luke Wians.

“Oh, I was thinking maybe I should have called a different pitch there,” said Stevens, Judson’s catcher. “It worked out.”

Bergmann (10-4), a Glenbard North product, struck out four and scattered nine hits in seven innings.

He got help from his defense. Josh Raymond threw a runner out at the plate from right in the second and Wians tracked down two deep balls.

Saint Xavier managed 11 hits, but stranded 11 runners.

“We just never got that big hit to put us ahead,” Cougars coach Mike Dooley said.

Judson tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth.

Mark DeYoung singled in a run for Judson to break a scoreless tie in the fourth. Bryan Polak’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half tied it.

Balough homered in the sixth, but Saint Xavier again answered in its half on a Polak two-out single.

Jordan Pemble struck out four in two innings of scoreless relief.

St. Francis (22-28) will play Saint Xavier on Tuesday at noon, the winner meeting Judson at 8 p.m. Holy Cross, which eliminated Olivet Nazarene Monday, faces Trinity Christian at 4 p.m.

“We’ll see if we have some toughness tomorrow,” Dooley said. “We have to fight through that first game and stay alive.”



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