St. Charles, Mo. - Junior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) exploded for a combined seven hits, six runs scored and four RBI to help Saint Xavier University manage a doubleheader split with Lindenwood University (Mo.) in NAIA softball action Saturday afternoon at the Lou Brock Complex in St. Charles, Mo. The Cougars (9-5 overall) won the first game by a score of 7-6, but could not overcome five errors in game two to fall, 14-13, in the nightcap. Freshman right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) improved to 5-1 on the season with the game one victory. She threw all seven innings and allowed 10 hits, six runs (all earned) and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Hunter went 3-for-4 at the plate in Saturday's first game and scored three runs, including the eventual game-winner in the top of the fourth inning. Senior infielders Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and Brittany Hannigan (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) each recorded two RBI toward the winning effort as well. After both teams scored a run in the top of the first inning, Lindenwood scored five more in the bottom of the second to build a 6-1 advantage. The Cougars answered right back with five runs in the top of the third to tie things up again, 6-6. A RBI double by Murphy in the top of the fourth broke the tie and led to the SXU victory after both teams failed to score in the final three frames.
The second game was a back-and-forth scoring frenzy as the two teams combined for 27 runs off 30 hits in the 14-13 decision for the Lions. SXU led 5-1 after the first two innings thanks in part to a three-RBI double by Hunter. However, Lindenwood scattered seven hits in the bottom of the third to plate six runs and take a 7-5 lead. The Cougars would score five more runs over the fifth and sixth innings to take back the lead, 10-7, but the Lions scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to reclaim the advantage, 12-10. In the top of the seventh, Saint Xavier would get a sacrifice fly from Murphy and a RBI single by sophomore third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) to go ahead, 13-12, but a fielding error would help Lindenwood plate two more runs in the bottom of the frame to get the victory. Hunter posted four hits to go along with three runs scored and four RBI, while Mollohan went 2-for-5 with two RBI for SXU.
Saint Xavier (9-5 overall) plans to open its home schedule on Saturday, March 19, with a non-conference doubleheader against Clarke University (Iowa). The first game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start at the SXU Softball Field in Chicago.