Softball - Sun, Mar. 16, 2008
Orlando, Fla. - Despite finishing its season-opening Florida trip with a 4-8 record against some very talented and nationally ranked NCAA Division II competition, the Saint Xavier University softball team ended its stint at the Rebel Springs Games in Orlando with a big 2-1 victory Saturday against No. 14 Long Island University-C.W. Post (N.Y.) thanks in part to a stellar performance on the mound by sophomore Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher). Shearer threw all seven innings and gave up just two hits and one unearned run in Saturday's finale to earn the victory. The Cougars (4-8 overall) scored both their runs in the top of the fifth inning behind bases loaded walks by sophomore second baseman Rebekah Ruettiger (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and freshman shortstop Britney Hannigan (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg), respectively.

SXU opened the second half of its schedule at the Rebel Springs Games on Thursday, March 13, with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Ashland University (Ohio) in eight innings. Freshman first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) spearheaded the offense for the Cougars going 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and a RBI. Shearer got the victory on the mound pitching all eight innings and allowing six hits and three runs (all earned) with seven strikeouts. After the game went to extra innings tied at 2-2, Saint Xavier got big RBI singles from Murphy and freshman leftfielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and a huge RBI double from junior rightfielder Holly Kennedy (Henry, Ill./University) to plate three runs in the top of the eighth. Ashland scored a run in the bottom of the inning, but a big double play and a groundout to third base sealed the win for the Cougars.

In its second game Thursday, Saint Xavier fell behind early trailing 8-0 to East Shroudsburg University (Pa.) heading into the bottom of the third inning. Despite scoring four runs over the next two innings, the Cougars could not complete a rally attempt and fell 8-4 in the game. Gryczewski finished 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored to lead the SXU offense. The Cougars fell behind early in Friday's first game as well trailing No. 5 Lock Haven University (Pa.), 6-2, after three innings and eventually losing the game, 9-3. Junior third baseman Gianna Pavone (Orland Park, Ill./St. Joseph's College) was 3-for-3 at the plate with three doubles and a run scored. Despite scoring two runs in the first inning of Friday's second game against Wayne State University (Mich.), the Cougars gave up six runs over the next three innings and dropped the game, 6-2. Murphy had the big hit for Saint Xavier with a two-RBI single in her first at-bat of the game.

Giving up runs proved to be a problem again in Saturday's first game as SXU allowed four runs in the first inning and eventually fell, 8-4, to Ferris State University (Ohio). Murphy went 1-for-2 with a run scored and two RBI, while junior designated hitter Megen Friscia (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) had a double and two RBI. The Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to trail by just a run, 4-3, but managed just one run the rest of the way. SXU then ended the trip in dramatic fashion Saturday with its big 2-1 victory over No. 14 Long Island University-C.W. Post.

Saint Xavier (4-8 overall) returns home and opens its Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) slate on Thursday, March 20, with a road doubleheader against Judson University (Ill.) in Elgin, Ill. The first game of the twinbill is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.