Softball - Sat, Mar. 6, 2010
Orlando, Fla. - After starting the season with a 1-4 record and overcoming a variety of player injuries, the No. 17 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team has regrouped and won its fifth straight game following a three-game sweep Friday, including a 1-0 victory over NCAA Division I University of South Dakota (S.D.). The Cougars (6-4 overall) defeated South Dakota in Friday's first game and then beat NAIA foes Indiana Wesleyan University (Ind.) and Walsh University (Ohio) by scores of 2-1 and 4-2, respectively. Junior catcher Amy Kennedy (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac) had one of SXU's hot bats Friday going a combined 3-for-8 with two doubles and two RBI.

After five and a half scoreless innings to start the day, junior centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) hit a RBI double to score junior right fielder Rachel Krabbe (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) from second in the bottom of the sixth inning. Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Saint Xavier put South Dakota down in order in the top of the seventh to secure the big victory. Senior right-hander Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) was unstoppable on the mound allowing just three hits and two walks with five strikeouts to pick up the complete game shutout and improve to 2-1 on the year.

A two-RBI double by Kennedy in the bottom of the first inning gave the Cougars an early 2-0 lead against Indiana Wesleyan. The Wildcats would make things interesting in the top of the seventh with a solo home run to cut the lead in half, but SXU would retire three of the next four batters to earn the win. Freshman rightie Jackie Dugan (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) improved to 2-1 on the season throwing all seven innings and giving up just two hits, a run (earned) and five walks with four strikeouts. The Cougars finished with four total hits in the game, including Kennedy's double.

SXU finished the day with a nine-inning thriller scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to capture a 4-2 victory over Walsh. Paradzinski led the offensive attack going 2-for-5 at the plate with a run scored, while senior right fielder Nicole Fletcher (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) hit a solo homer in the seventh inning to force extra innings. A RBI single by junior left fielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) scored the second run of the ninth inning after an error by Walsh's second baseman allowed Dugan to score from second. Sophomore right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) earned the win for SXU pitching all nine innings and allowing seven hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk to improve to 2-1 this season.

Saint Xavier (6-4 overall) wraps up its week-long Florida trip Saturday with a pair of afternoon games. Game one will pit the Cougars against Indiana University of Pennsyvania (Pa.) at 1 p.m. (eastern) and the second game will match up SXU with Northern State University (S.D.) at 5 p.m. (eastern).