Clermont, Fla. – Sophomore infielder Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) racked up six hits, five runs scored and five RBI to help lead the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team to a split of its first four games to open up its seven-day "Spring Break" trip at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Cougars (2-2 overall) began the 2012 campaign on Sunday, February 26, with an 11-3 win (six innings) over University of Michigan-Dearborn (Mich.) before falling 8-7 to Davenport University (Mich.) later in the day. SXU then lost another tough one-run game to University of Mary (N.D.), 5-4, on Monday morning before bouncing back with an 8-0 victory over State University of New York (SUNY)-Canton in five innings.
In the season-opening win over UM-Dearborn, freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) and freshman catcher Alexandra Bahner (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) sparked the offense. Laurent went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a triple and two runs scored, while Bahner was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and five RBI. The 14 hits and 11 runs by Saint Xavier was all sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) needed to secure her first win of the season (1-0). Nonnemacher threw all six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) and a walk with 10 strikeouts.
In the loss to Davenport Sunday, the Cougars had a 3-0 lead thanks in part to a two-RBI double from Bahner in the bottom of the second. However, Davenport scored eight runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to rally for the win. SXU was able to cut it to a run in the top of the seventh off a RBI single by junior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), but could manufacture no more base runners the rest of the frame. Nonnemacher took the loss (1-1) in relief of senior starter Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic). Brown threw the first four innings and gave up one hit, six runs (four earned) and seven walks with four strikeouts. Nonnemacher pitched the final two frames and allowed three hits, two runs (both earned) and no walks with two strikeouts.
Mollohan and senior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) each tallied three hits in Monday's 5-4 loss to University of Mary. The Cougars fell behind 5-0 after three innings, but rallied back with a run in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Mollohan and three more runs in the sixth by opening the frame with five straight hits, including a two-RBI double by junior Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont). SXU had a great chance to tie or win the game with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but two strikeouts and an infield pop-up ended it. Senior Nicole Derezinski (St. John, Ind./Andrean) got the loss (0-1) going two innings and giving up three hits, four runs (all earned) and three walks with a strikeout. Lauret, Hinton and freshman outfielder Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) each posted two hits and at least a run scored and RBI in the win over SUNY-Canton. Nonnemacher improved to 2-1 on the year throwing all five innings and giving up just one hit and two walks. She had 12 strikeouts in the shutout.
Saint Xavier (2-2 overall) continues its Florida trip with a pair of games on Tuesday, February 28. The first game is against Saint Anselm College (N.H.) at 9 a.m. (eastern) and the late game against Adrian College (Mich.) at 11 a.m. (eastern).