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ELGIN, Ill. --- Riding the arms of sophomore John Riordan (Chicago, Ill./ St. Laurence) and senior Matt DeGraw (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport), University of St. Francis kept its playoff run alive at the 2017 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament with a 1-0 shutout of Purdue University Northwest and a 12-0 blanking of Indiana University South Bend on Monday.
The pair of wins kept the Saints (33-25) as one of only three teams remaining in the eight-team tournament with Saint Xavier University and St. Ambrose University being the other two clubs. USF meets Saint Xavier in another elimination game on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. with the winner to face St. Ambrose at 7:30 p.m.
St. Ambrose remains as the lone unbeaten in the tournament. Should the Saints prevail in both games on Tuesday, they would face St. Ambrose again on Wednesday at 7 pm for the tournament title.
Game 1 --- USF 1, Purdue Northwest 0
Riordan had a no-hitter going through 8 1/3 innings before Tyler Crussen broke up that bid with a base hit. The single to right field, however, did not break up Riordan's shutout. That was saved by senior rightfielder CJ Duffek (Brookfield, Ill./Riverside-Brookfield), who made a perfect throw home on the play to nail Luke Schmidt at the plate for the second out in the inning. Duffek also contributed at the plate with a pair of hits.
Two innings before, the Saints registered the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Anthony Faron (New Lenox, Ill./ St. Rita) to score senior centerfielder Kyle Burton (Kankakee, Ill./ Herscher), who got hit by a pitch to open the inning. He eventually moved to second on a sacrifice by junior leftfielder Pat Michalak (New Lenox, Ill./ Lincoln-Way Central) and to third on a single by senior catcher Dan Darling (Coal City, Ill./ Coal City).
Riordan (7-1) finished his day with seven strikeouts against five walks, while allowing just the one hit. It was his fourth shutout of the season.
Game 2 --- USF 12, Indiana South Bend 0
DeGraw (6-2) matched Riordan's shutout by authoring the first one of his St. Francis career in the nightcap. He scattered six hits and a pair of walks, while striking out seven batters. He also received plenty of offensive support.
As a team, the Saints collected 16 hits and took control of the contest in the middle innings when they turned a 2-0 lead after three innings into a 9-0 advantage after six innings with three runs in the fifth inning and another four in the sixth inning.
Freshman designated hitter Tyler Schoonover (Braidwood, Ill./ Reed-Custer), junior shortstop Tom Smith (New Lenox, Ill./ Lockport) and Michalak all registered three hits with Schoonover scoring four runs and Smith driving in a pair. Senior third baseman Nick Fleischauer (Shorewood, Ill./ Minooka) also drove home two runs and had two hits.