Softball - Thu, Apr. 16, 2009
CHICAGO - Despite a home run by sophomore first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) in game one, the Saint Xavier University softball team dropped a non-conference doubleheader to NCAA Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Wis.) Thursday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (21-16 overall/12-4 CCAC) fell, 4-3, in the day's first game and then gave up six runs late in the nightcap to lose, 8-2. SXU had five errors on the day, including four in the first game, which led to two costly unearned runs.

The first game started out as a pitcher's duel as both teams gave up just three combined hits and no runs over the first three innings of play. However, in the top of the fourth inning, the Rangers opened the frame with three straight hits, including a RBI single to take a 1-0 lead. The Cougars answered in the bottom of the fourth when senior designated hitter Gianna Pavone (Orland Park, Ill./St. Joseph's/Sandburg) brought home freshman shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) with a RBI single to tie the game and then sophomore left fielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) used a sacrifice fly later in the inning to give her team a 2-1 lead. In the top of the sixth, junior first baseman Lisa Casey hit a solo homer to tie the game, 2-2, and the Rangers took back the lead later in the inning off a RBI single by junior left fielder Alea McNellis. An error in the outfield allowed UW-Parkside to plate another run in the top of the seventh and it would prove to be the game-winner as Murphy hit a solo shot to left-centerfield to cut the lead to a run, 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh. Junior Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) took the loss (11-6 overall) throwing all seven innings and allowing nine hits, four runs (two earned) and three walks with four strikeouts.

In game two, SXU fell behind, 2-0, after three innings with the Rangers scoring a run in both the top of the second and third innings. In the bottom of the fourth, the Cougars tied the game, 2-2, when Hunter hit a RBI double to left-centerfield and Pavone later traded places with her with a RBI double to right-centerfield. Unfortunately for Saint Xavier, it was the end of its run production on the day as UW-Parkside scored six unanswered runs over the final three innings to claim the 8-2 win. Freshman Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) picked up the loss (8-7 overall) giving up 17 hits, eight runs (seven earned) and a walk with two strikeouts over her seven innings of work. Murphy and Hunter each finished the game with two hits to lead the offense.

Saint Xavier (21-16 overall/12-4 CCAC) heads to Springfield, Ill., this weekend to take part in the UIS Softball Tournament hosted by the University of Illinois-Springfield. The Cougars will play five games at the tourney opening on Saturday, April 18, with a 2 p.m. game against Central Methodist University (Mo.).