Softball - Sat, May 1, 2010
CHICAGO - Saint Xavier University senior right-hander Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) may have saved her best for "Senior Day" when she earned a huge 2-1 victory over No. 14 ranked Bethel College (Ind.) in game one of the regular season doubleheader finale Saturday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (30-16 overall) dropped the second game, 9-1, but gained some momentum heading into postseason play with the split over one of the NAIA's top ranked teams. Shearer proved why she is SXU's No. 1 pitcher Saturday throwing all seven innings and allowing just six hits, one run (unearned) and no walks with seven strikeouts. She improves her season record to 14-4.

Bethel scored early in the first game after the leadoff batter got on base after an infield error by Saint Xavier and later crossed home plate on a throwing error from a pickoff attempt. Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, sophomore shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) reached first base on a hit down the right field line and later scored on an infield error by the Pilots. With the game tied 1-1, Hunter would bring home the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth when she hit a RBI single up the middle to score junior centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) from second base. Shearer took things over from there allowing just two hits the rest of the way to secure the 2-1 win. Hunter finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI.

Unfortunately for SXU, the Bethel bats got hot early in the second game with a three-run homer by senior catcher Brittney Fisher leading the charge in the first inning. The Pilots would score three more runs over the next three innings to take a 6-0 advantage into the bottom of the fourth frame before Saint Xavier scored its lone run following an infield throwing error. Bethel would use a two-RBI double by freshman utility player Melissa Gunderson to plate three more runs in the top of the seventh to wrap up the 9-1 victory. Freshman right-hander Jackie Dugan (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) got the start and the loss (7-4) for SXU throwing the first 3.2 innings and giving up seven hits, six runs (four earned) and no walks. The Cougar offense managed just six hits in the second game. Senior outfielder Rebekah Ruettiger (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) caught one batter and pitched against another in the second game to accomplish the rare feat of playing all nine positions during her four-year career with the Cougars. Saint Xavier (30-16 overall/15-3 CCAC) will take the No. 2 seed into next week's Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Softball Tournament, which begins on Thursday, May 6, in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars received a first-round bye and will play at 3 p.m. Thursday against the winner of an earlier game between No. 3 seed Robert Morris University (Ill.) and No. 6 seed University of St. Francis (Ill.).