CHICAGO - Senior first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) hit a walk-off, three-run homer to end game one as No. 17 ranked Saint Xavier University grabbed an 8-0 victory in six innings in collegiate softball action with NCAA Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside Tuesday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Rangers were able to hang on and capture the 6-4 win in the late game. As the final regular season home doubleheader for SXU this season, Murphy and the remaining five seniors on the 2011 roster were honored between games. In addition to Murphy's big homer, sophomore designated hitter Jamie Reed (Lincoln, Neb./Saint Pius X) also had a huge day offensively for the Cougars going a combined 4-for-6 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored and three RBI.
SXU rode another phenomenal pitching performance by freshman Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) to the game one victory. Nonnemacher threw a five-hit shutout with two walks and five strikeouts to improve to 15-4 this season. As a team, the Cougars belted out 14 hits in the opener led by three apiece for Reed and senior right fielder Rachel Krabbe (Beecher, Ill./Beecher). After two scoreless innings to open the game, junior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) hit a two-run shot to left field to put Saint Xavier ahead, 2-0, in the bottom of the third. Junior shortstop Adriana Hughes (Shorewood, Ill./Lewis University/Joliet Catholic) and Reed recorded RBI hits in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to extend SXU's lead to 4-0. A sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Brittany Hannigan (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) and Murphy's three-run blast plated four runs in the bottom of the sixth and ended the game an inning early.
UW-Parkside took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two off a two-run homer by designated hitter Kirsten Luevano. A sacrifice bunt would score another run for the Rangers in the top of the third to make the score, 3-0. Senior left fielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) put Saint Xavier on the board with a RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fourth. Early walks following by back-to-back singles plated three more runs for UW-Parkside in the top of the fifth and put the Cougars behind, 6-1. SXU would not go down without a fight and scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth behind a two-run homer by Reed and a RBI single by Hannigan. Junior Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) suffered the loss (13-8) on the mound for the Cougars throwing 4.2 innings and allowing six hits, six runs (all earned) and seven walks with two strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (32-14 overall/14-4 CCAC) will host the 2011 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Softball Tournament at SXU Softball Field starting on Thursday, May 5. The Cougars carry the No. 1 seed into the six-team event and will have a bye in first-round action. SXU will play at 1 p.m. Thursday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.