Clermont, Fla. – A shutout performance by sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) was the big highlight of the day as the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team split a doubleheader with University of Michigan-Dearborn Thursday at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Cougars (4-4 overall) could not overcome four errors, which led to seven unearned runs, in the first game and lost by a score of 8-5. SXU cleaned up the defense in the second game and rode a stellar effort on the mound by Nonnemacher to pick up a 2-0 victory. Nonnemacher threw all seven innings of game two and allowed seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts to improve her win-loss record to 3-2 on the season.
Senior righty Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) pitched well in the opening game, but was the victim of too many defensive errors going all seven frames and giving up six hits, eight runs (one earned) and three walks with four strikeouts. Brown falls to 1-1 this season with the loss. Michigan-Dearborn led 6-1 after the first four innings of play with Saint Xavier scoring its lone run off a RBI double by senior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) in the bottom of the first inning. The Cougars would fall behind 8-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but would not go down without a fight plating four runs in the inning highlighted by a two-RBI single from freshman right fielder Erin Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North).
Both of Saint Xavier's runs in the second game came in the top of the fifth inning when a RBI double to left field by freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion Benton) and an infield error helped plate a pair. The Cougars had only four hits in the game, but it was enough as UM-Dearborn struggled defensively with three errors. Lauret finished the game 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI, while freshman designated player Sarah Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
Saint Xavier (4-4 overall) will now take on Houghton College (N.Y.) in a morning doubleheader on Friday, March 2. The first game will begin at 9 a.m. (eastern) at the National Training Center in Clermont.