Clermont, Fla. – Led by the hot offensive play of sophomore outfielder Katie Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North), the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team completed its annual "Spring Break" trip with three straight wins over the weekend in Clermont, Fla. Houlihan went 6-for-8 at the plate with four runs scored, two stolen bases and two RBI over the stretch as the Cougars swept a Friday doubleheader from Houghton College (N.Y.), 9-0 (five innings) and 10-1 (five innings), and then won a Saturday thriller against Davenport University (Mich.), 5-4. Davenport came into the contest red hot winning 10 of its previous 11 games heading into Saturday's finale.
In the 9-0 victory over Houghton Friday, the Saint Xavier offense was dominant with Houlihan, junior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and sophomore first baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) each recording three hits. The Cougars scored three runs in the top of the second inning highlighted by a two-RBI single by freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton). In the top of the sixth, SXU put the exclamation point on the game with six runs off seven hits and a pair of Houghton errors. Sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) threw all five innings and allowed four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
The second game of the doubleheader was more of the same as the Cougars scored eight runs over the first three innings to pick up the 10-1 victory. Senior shortstop Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) and freshman left fielder Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) each chipped in two hits and two RBI toward the winning effort. Senior righty Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) notched the win on the mound going all five frames and giving up just two hits, a run (unearned) and no walks with two strikeouts. She moved to 2-1 overall on the season with the decision. In the Saturday finale against the Panthers, SXU took advantage of two errors to plate two runs in the bottom of the sixth to get the 5-4 win. Nonnemacher threw all seven innings allowing seven hits, four runs (three earned) and a walk with seven strikeouts. She now sits at 5-2 on the year with the win. Junior shortstop Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont) was key offensively in the game going 1-for-2 with a run and two RBI.
Saint Xavier (7-4 overall) heads to Jackson, Tenn., later this week for a stretch of six games. The Cougars will take on No. 17 ranked Union University (Tenn.) in a road doubleheader on Thursday, March 8, that starts at 2 p.m. (central). SXU will then complete the trip with four games at the Union University Softball Tournament on Friday and Saturday.