Junior Ashley Hunter is off to a hot start to the 2011 SXU softball season
Junior Ashley Hunter is off to a hot start to the 2011 SXU softball season
Softball - Wed, Mar. 2, 2011

Orlando, Fla. - Behind the solid play of junior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora), the Saint Xavier University softball team has jumped out to a 4-2 record through the first six games of its 2011 season as part of its annual Florida trip, which started on Sunday, February 27. The Cougars opened the trip with three straight wins over University of Michigan-Dearborn, Goshen College (Ind.) and Warner Southern University (Fla.), respectively, before dropping its second game with Warner Southern and then splitting a tough doubleheader with Florida Southern College (Fla.) Tuesday evening. Hunter is off to a hot start over the six-game stretch racking up nine hits (two doubles), six runs scored and three RBI.

In a 5-2 victory over Michigan-Dearborn Saturday, senior catcher Amy Kennedy (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac) had the hot bat for SXU going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Hunter also finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Freshman pitcher Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) notched the first win of her collegiate career (1-0) for the Cougars throwing all seven innings and allowing just four hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk with seven strikeouts. SXU carried the momentum into Saturday's second game against Goshen College as Hunter exploded for three hits with two runs scored and a RBI to lead the team to an 8-0 win in six innings. Senior second baseman Brittany Hannigan (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Junior pitcher Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) logged the shutout victory for Saint Xavier hurling all six innings and giving up nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

Nonnemacher had a huge outing on the mound in SXU's first game Monday against Warner Southern, a 3-0 victory for the Cougars. She shut down their offensive production limiting the opposition to just three hits and four walks over seven innings, while striking out five batters. Kennedy finished 2-for-3 at the plate for SXU with a RBI as all three runs of the game were scored in the top of the first inning. Unfortunately for Saint Xavier, Warner Southern's bats got hot in game two as the Cougars fell 8-0 in six innings. Brown took the loss for SXU throwing all five innings and allowing eight hits, eight runs (four earned) and three walks with a strikeout.

Florida Southern also proved to be a tough foe in game one of Tuesday's meeting, which the Mocs dominated by a score of 9-1 behind 16 hits. Senior first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) went 2-for-3 at the plate, while senior centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) posted SXU's only RBI. Junior Nicole Derezinski (St. John, Ind./Andrean) took the loss (0-1) for the Cougars on the mound. After falling behind 4-0 after three innings of play in game two, SXU scored seven runs over the next three innings to claim a 7-5 win. Freshman left fielder Katie Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI. Freshman third baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) and sophomore second baseman Ashley Tenerelli (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) each logged two hits and a RBI as well. Nonnemacher stayed perfect on the season (3-0) pitching all seven innings and giving up nine hits, five runs (all earned) and five walks with five strikeouts.

Saint Xavier (4-2 overall) takes Wednesday off before returning to action on Thursday, March 3, with a pair of games. The first game pits the Cougars against Ferrum College (Va.) at 12:30 p.m. (central) followed by a 2:30 p.m. match-up against Alma College (Mich.).