Having unceremoniously dumped the presumptive favorites of the Nashville regional on their own field, Xavier will try to win their 8th in a row to head into championship Sunday undefeated.
Standing in their path tonight will be the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who took home a win in a 14 inning thriller yesterday over Washington by way of a walk off Austin Bush home run. They will likely trot Joe Record (5-5 3.83) to the mound; Record only lasted 4 innings in his last start against UC Riverside. The Gauchos will also be looking to get the bats going in Nashville after compiling only 8 hits in their 14 inning game, only two of which were for extra bases.
Countering for Xavier will be junior Trent Astle (5-4 5.97), who is undefeated in his last 5 starts with a 4-0 record and a 3.69 ERA in that span. The Muskies will need him at his best again to keep a Santa Barbara team who is typically very good at keeping their opponents off the board. Of course if X hits like they did against Vandy, that will be put to the test.
The winner of this game will be 2-0 and have a huge leg up on Sunday, sitting in a 2-to-win-1 situation. The loser will drop to play an elimination game against the winner of the Vanderbilt and Washington game being played right now.