FAIRFIELD -- Fairfield Prep rallied from a four-run deficit but came up short in the eighth inning as it lost to Xavier 8-4 in a matchup of two of the SCC's top baseball teams Wednesday afternoon.
The Jesuits trailed 4-0 heading into the fifth inning, but managed to score two in the fifth and two in the sixth to send the game into extras.
"The one thing you can say about us, and what we've shown all year long, is that we don't quit," Fairfield Prep coach Rudy Mauritz said after the extra-inning loss. "We look to play the game hard all the way. We could have done a better job of being more consistent throughout the entire game today, but we compete."
The inability to close out innings plagued Fairfield Prep throughout the game. With two outs, the Falcons had four hits and scored seven of their eight runs.
"You're not going to win if you're doing that," Mauritz said. "You can't expect to win if you're doing that. But they're a very good team. They showed a lot of confidence hitting with two strikes."
Ben Criscuolo kept Prep's bats quiet through the first four innings, not allowing a hit over that stretch. The Jesuits remained patient, however, and when he faltered in the fifth, they struck.
Mike Carter and Chris Sutay singled to begin the inning and Joe Ganim walked to load the bases for Chris Collins at the top of the Jesuit order. With the bases loaded and no outs, Collins laced a hit into right field, allowing Carter and Sutay to score. The inning would end two batters later, but Fairfield Prep had cut the lead in half.
"Things snowballed a little bit," Xavier coach Richard Magner said of the shift in momentum after Fairfield Prep scored its first two runs. "It's high school, it will happen. Stuff hits the fan and you've just got to hold on."
To start the sixth, Kevin Stone got into scoring position due to an error by shortstop Jay Schaff. A double by David Gerics scored Stone and made it a 4-3 game. Jake Berry's bunt moved him over to third and Mike Carter drove him home one batter later to tie the game at four.
Purcell won the game in the top of the eighth inning with a three-run double that made the Falcons' lead 8-4.
"I went down 0-2 and he struck me out earlier looking, so I said I'm not going to let him do that again. I saw a ball I could take the other way and took it," Purcell said of the game-clinching at-bat.
XAVIER 030 100 04--8 9 3
FAIRFIELD PREP 000 022 00--4 5 2