Softball - Wed, Apr. 11, 2007
Joliet, Ill. - Despite not playing for a week due to the recent weather conditions, the Saint Xavier University softball team had little problem keeping up with its winning ways sweeping a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) doubleheader from rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) Tuesday night in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars (13-7 overall/7-1 CCAC) won the first game, 3-1, and then went on to take the nightcap, 8-0, in five innings due to the conference mercy rule.

Senior right fielder Nicole Barker (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic) had a huge day at the plate combining to go 5-for-7 with a double, two triples, three runs scored, and three RBI. Sophomore third baseman Megen Friscia (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport) also had a solid outing Tuesday going 3-for-6 with a double, a home run, a run scored, and three RBI. The Cougars combined for 20 hits over the doubleheader compared to just seven by the Fighting Saints.

SXU jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one behind a sacrifice fly by senior centerfielder Marie Barker (Chicago Heights, Ill./Marian Catholic), which scored twin sister Nicole Barker from third base following a lead-off triple. A RBI single by sophomore catcher Gianna Pavone (Orland Park, Ill./St. Joseph's College) in the fourth put the Cougars ahead, 2-0. Another RBI triple by Nicole Barker in the fifth inning scored the third and final run of the game for Saint Xavier. USF had a chance to tie or win the game in the bottom of the seventh down 3-1 with bases loaded and two outs, but SXU freshman starter Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) was able to strike out the final batter of the game to secure the complete-game victory. Shearer allowed just four hits, one run (earned), and a walk over the seven-inning game with seven strikeouts.

The Cougar offense exploded in game two for eight unanswered runs behind a big game from both Nicole Barker and Friscia. Barker went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and two RBI, while Friscia notched a three-RBI homer in the nightcap. SXU scored four runs in the game's first two innings behind RBI hits from both Barkers as well as senior shortstop Samantha Lovato (Oak Forest, Ill./Eisenhower). Saint Xavier did not score again until the top of the fifth when Friscia's big homer helped spark a four-run inning, which led to the 8-0 victory. Junior righthander Nicolle Bartels (Chicago, Ill./Marian Catholic) threw a gem in game two going all five innings and giving up just three hits, no runs, and a walk with one strikeout.

SXU (13-7 overall/7-1 CCAC) will host Robert Morris College (Ill.) on Thursday, April 12, for a conference doubleheader at the SXU Softball Field. The twinbill is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., weather permitting, in Chicago.