Joliet, Ill. - Senior centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) went a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored in leading Saint Xavier University to a 5-3 victory in the second game of Tuesday's Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) with University of St. Francis (Ill.) at Inwood Softball Complex in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars (22-10 overall/9-3 CCAC) lost the opening game of Tuesday's doubleheader, 6-2, despite a two-run homer by senior first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) in the top of the fifth inning. With the split, SXU sits in a tie with Judson University (Ill.) for second place in the conference standings with a 9-3 mark just one game behind the conference leader, No. 13 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.).
After three scoreless innings to open the first game, USF put the first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning off a sacrifice bunt. Murphy's two-run shot to left field in the fifth gave the Cougars the lead, but it was short-lived as the Fighting Saints scored five runs off five hits and an error in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for good, 6-2. Junior Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) fell to 10-4 on the year with the loss as Saint Xavier's starter. Brown threw all six innings and allowed nine hits, six runs (five earned) and three walks with a strikeout. Murphy led the Cougar offense in the first game with two of the team's three hits.
Paradzinski opened game two with a triple down the right field line and later scored on a RBI single by senior second baseman Brittany Hannigan (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg). A RBI single by junior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) in the top of the third inning gave SXU a 2-0 lead. The Cougars went ahead, 3-0, in the fourth off a RBI double to center field by freshman right fielder Katie Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) and then added two more runs in the fifth inning when Paradzinski and Hannigan scored on back-to-back wild pitches. USF would score all three of its runs in the bottom of the seventh before SXU freshman starter Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) got three consecutive outs, including a game-ending strikeout, to end the late rally threat. Nonnemacher improves to 10-4 this season with the win and pitched all seven innings allowing eight hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks with three strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (22-10 overall/9-3 CCAC) hosts No. 13 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) at SXU Softball Field in Chicago on Thursday, April 14. The first game of the doubleheader begins at 3 p.m.