Softball - Thu, Apr. 17, 2008
CHICAGO - Despite two solid pitching performances by seniors Ashley Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) and Nicolle Bartels (Chicago, Ill./Marian Catholic), the Saint Xavier University softball team squandered one-run leads in both of its games with No. 16 ranked Bethel College (Ind.) falling, 4-1, in eight innings in game one and, 4-3, in the nightcap on "Senior Day" Thursday at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. Shearer took a five-hit shutout into the seventh inning with the Cougars leading 1-0 before a two-out RBI double by the Pilots tied the game. Bartels pitched four innings to start game two and allowed seven hits, four runs (two earned) and no walks with three strikeouts. SXU falls to 12-16 overall on the season with the losses.

Junior designated player Megen Friscia (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) had the hot bat in Thursday's first game going 2-for-2 at the plate. Saint Xavier scored its lone run of the game in the second inning following a fielding error by Bethel centerfielder Tara Blair that would have ended the frame. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Bethel got back-to-back hits, a single and a RBI double, to send the game to extra innings. In the eighth inning, Bethel first baseman Katie Boocher hit a two-run homer and third baseman Emily Perrenot hit a solo shot to give the Pilots its 4-1 lead, which proved to be final score. Shearer threw seven of the eight innings and gave up nine hits, three runs (all earned), and a walk with four strikeouts.

After two scoreless innings to start the nightcap, Bethel plated two runs in the top of the third inning to take an early 2-0 lead. However, the Cougars answered in the bottom of the third with three straight singles to start the frame, including a RBI single by freshman first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest). Senior catcher Aly Kelley (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) later hit a one-out, RBI single to left field to tie the game before a sacrifice fly by Friscia gave SXU a 3-2 advantage. Unfortunately for Saint Xavier, Bethel scored two unearned runs in the top of the fourth to take back the lead, 4-3, and carried it the rest of the way. All four of SXU's seniors got a chance to play Thursday with senior Jill Hope (Lansing, Ill./Marian Catholic) pinch-hitting in game one to join fellow veterans Shearer, Bartels, and Kelley. The four were honored by their teammates and coaches Thursday between games.

Saint Xavier (12-16 overall/8-6 CCAC) takes to the road this weekend to participate in the two-day UIS Softball Tournament hosted by the University of Illinois-Springfield. The Cougars will play two games on Saturday and two more on Sunday opening with a 1 p.m. match-up Saturday with the host Prairie Stars.