Softball - Fri, May 15, 2009
Decatur, Ala. - Two infield errors by No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University in the bottom of the sixth inning helped lead to the eventual game-winning run in a 2-1 victory for No. 7 Saint Gregory's University (Okla.) in the second game of pool play Friday in the 2009 NAIA Softball National Championship at the Wilson Morgan Softball Complex in Decatur, Ala. The Cougars (31-19 overall) got another stellar pitching performance from junior Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) despite the loss. Shearer threw all six innings for SXU allowing just three hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk with two strikeouts. She falls to 17-9 overall this season with the loss. The Cougars still have one game remaining Saturday in pool play to determine whether or not they will advance to the next round of the national tournament.

A double by senior centerfielder Heather Humphrey to open the bottom of the first inning led to the game's first run when she later scored from third on a sacrifice bunt to give the Cavaliers an early 1-0 lead. Saint Xavier had junior right fielder Rebekah Ruettiger (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and sophomore left fielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) hit by pitches in back-to-back at-bats to put runners at first and second base in the top of the third. It paid off as the Cougars tied the game, 1-1, when sophomore centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) brought home Ruettiger on a RBI single to shallow left field. Saint Gregory's senior Sharon Bell struck out 10 of the next 11 SXU batters she faced heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Cavaliers took advantage of a throwing error and a fielding error in the sixth to plate a run, which proved to be the difference in the ballgame. In the top of the seventh, Bell continued to shut down the Cougar bats striking out two of the three batters faced to secure the victory. Bell finished with 14 strikeouts in the game and allowed just two hits and no walks. Paradzinski posted both hits for SXU going 2-for-3 with a RBI.

SXU (31-19 overall) wraps up pool play on Saturday, May 16, by taking on unranked Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.) at 2:30 p.m. (central). If the Cougars win Saturday's game, they will also need Saint Gregory's to lose its game with No. 11 University of Houston-Victoria (Texas) in order to have a chance of winning the four-team pool and advancing to the next round of games of the 2009 NAIA Softball National Championship, which starts on Monday, May 18.