Softball - Thu, Apr. 15, 2010
CHICAGO - Managing just 11 hits and two runs over 15 combined innings, the offensive struggles for the No. 21 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team continued in a pair of non-conference losses to No. 7 ranked Belhaven University (Miss.) Thursday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (23-11 overall) never crossed home plate in the first game falling, 3-0, to the Blazers and then could not get a timely hit late in game two leaving runners in scoring position in each of the final three frames of a 3-2 loss over eight innings. The SXU pitching staff was solid once again with sophomore right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) throwing the first game and senior right-hander Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) getting the starting nod in game two.

In game one, the Saint Xavier offense could muster just four hits against Belhaven junior starter Sarah Burns with only two runners ever reaching second base in the game. Senior outfielder Rachel Krabbe (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) was the lone offensive bright spot for SXU in Thursday's first game reaching base in both her plate appearances drawing a walk and hitting a single in the third inning. The Blazers were able to push a run across in the second inning on a RBI groundout by senior second baseman Britney Webb. Belhaven then added some insurance in the seventh, when a single by junior shortstop Christina Jacques scored freshmen centerfielder Lizzy Hess and Webb. Those runs were enough to secure the 3-0 win for the visitors. Brown pitched well for the Cougars going the full seven innings and allowing three runs (all earned), nine hits and four walks. The loss drops her record to 6-4 on the season.

The Blazers opened the scoring in the top of the third inning of the second game when Webb hit a two-RBI triple to right field to put her team ahead, 2-0. Two key errors and back-to-back singles by sophomore shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) and junior first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) helped score a run for Saint Xavier in the bottom of the sixth. Trailing 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, junior centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) hit a RBI single to left field to tie the game, 2-2. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the potential game-winning run was left at third base when the next two batters struck out and popped up to the catcher. In the extra inning, BU sophomore first baseman Heather Pace hit a solo shot to centerfield to put her team ahead, 3-2. Murphy would hit a double to lead off the bottom of the eighth and advanced to third with one out on a base hit by freshman third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), but the game would end on back-to-back strikeouts. Shearer threw all eight innings for SXU giving up three runs (all earned), 10 hits and a walk with five strikeouts. She falls to 11-3 on the year with the loss.

Saint Xavier (23-11 overall/12-2 CCAC) has little time to dwell on the losses going right back to the field on Friday, April 16, to host a non-conference doubleheader against Columbia College (Mo.). The match-up begins at 2 p.m. at SXU Softball Field in Chicago.