CHICAGO – Behind a dominating performance on the mound by sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community), the Saint Xavier University softball team extended its current win streak to six games with a non-conference doubleheader sweep of Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) Saturday afternoon at the SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (15-6 overall) won the first game, 1-0, and then held on to capture a 7-5 decision in the day's late contest. Nonnemacher was nearly untouchable in the opener throwing all seven innings and allowing just two hits and two walks with five strikeouts to get her eighth win (8-3) and fifth shutout (5) of the season.
Saturday's first game opened with four scoreless innings before SXU put its first two batters on in the bottom of the fifth. After a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Alexandra Bahner (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) moved the runners to second and third, a RBI single up the middle by freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) scored junior second baseman Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont). The run proved to be the game-winner as Nonnemacher closed out the final two frames with no hits, a walk and a hit batter to preserve the victory. Sullivan led the Saint Xavier offense going 2-for-3 with the run scored.
The second game was a little wilder with the Fighting Bees scoring two runs in the top of the first, the Cougars scoring seven unanswered runs over the next five innings and then Saint Ambrose scoring three more in the top of the seventh to make things interesting. SAU got its first two runs in the opening frame after an infield throwing error with two outs kept the inning alive. In the bottom of the third, SXU took advantage of an error by the Fighting Bees with two outs to help plate three runs led by RBI singles from senior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) and junior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew). A two-RBI double by freshman left fielder Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) highlighted four more runs for the Cougars in the sixth. Saint Ambrose would score three and bring the game-tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh, but SXU ended it on a caught foul ball near first base. Senior Nicole Derezinski (St. John, Ind./Andrean) got the win (2-1) for the Cougars going 5.2 innings and giving up four hits, two runs (both unearned) and four walks with four strikeouts. Senior Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) notched her first save of the year (1) throwing the final 1.1 innings and allowing two hits, three runs (two earned) and a walk with a strikeout.
Saint Xavier (15-6 overall/2-0 CCAC) heads over to Indianapolis on Sunday, March 25, for a non-conference doubleheader against Marian University (Ind.). The first game of the twin bill is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (eastern) start.