CHICAGO – Senior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) posted three hits, including a pair of doubles, as well as three RBI to help the Saint Xavier University softball team sweep a doubleheader from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) in the conference opener Thursday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (13-6 overall/2-0 CCAC) won the first game, 3-0, and then got a late run in the bottom of the fifth inning of game two to complete the sweep with a 3-2 victory. It was the fourth straight win for SXU with the team taking full advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and getting all of its first four home games played as originally scheduled.
Senior right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) notched her second shutout of the season improving to 5-2 on the year with Thursday's victory in game one. She allowed eight hits and no walks, while striking out seven USF batters over the seven-inning affair. Hunter highlighted Saint Xavier's offensive production in the opener finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and two RBI. Freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) was tough as well going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases. The Cougars got their first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning off a RBI single by Hunter. SXU would add some insurance in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings by scoring a run in each to help seal the victory.
Game two saw another solid pitching effort for sophomore righty Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community). She threw all seven frames and gave up just three hits, two runs (both earned) and three walks with five strikeouts to improve to 7-3 overall this spring. The Cougars got RBI hits from Hunter, Lauret and freshman left fielder Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) in the game. USF got all of its run production in the top of the first inning off a two-RBI single to right-centerfield by freshman third baseman Kaley Jendraszak. Hunter cut the 2-0 deficit in half in the bottom of the first with a RBI double to left field and then Lauret tied things up, 2-2, on a RBI single with two outs in the second inning. In the bottom of the fifth, James found the gap in left-centerfield and her RBI double proved to be the game-winning hit.
Saint Xavier (13-6 overall/2-0 CCAC) takes a break from its conference slate to host Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) on Saturday, March 24. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start at the SXU Softball Field.