Elgin, Ill. – A two-run homer by senior shortstop/catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) in the fifth inning of game one helped spark a doubleheader sweep of Judson University (Ill.) for the Saint Xavier University softball team in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action at the JU Softball Complex Thursday evening in Elgin, Ill. The Cougars (23-8 overall/8-2 CCAC) took the opening game, 5-2, and then completed the sweep with 6-4 victory in game two. Hunter finished the day a combined 4-for-7 at the plate with a homer, two runs scored and four RBI.
SXU needed to rally in the late innings of the opener after falling behind 2-1 over the game's first four frames. After JU scored two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer by senior second baseman Emily England, freshman designated hitter Sarah Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) cut the deficit in half in the top of the second with a RBI single to left field. In the top of the fifth, Hunter's two-run homer capped a three-run frame for the Cougars and gave them the lead for good. Hunter would add a RBI single in the seventh to give Saint Xavier a two-run cushion, 5-2. Senior right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) had another solid outing on the mound and improved to 9-2 on the year with the win. She threw all seven frames and allowed just four hits, two runs (both earned) and two walks with nine strikeouts. In the final four innings of game one, Brown gave up just one hit and a walk to help put her team in great position to pick up the victory.
Sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) was sharp in the late game throwing all seven innings and giving up eight hits, four runs (one earned) and a walk with eight strikeouts. She moves to 12-4 overall this season with Thursday's victory. The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a RBI double down the left field line by freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton). A passed ball in the third inning would score Hunter from third base to put SXU ahead, 2-0. A two-RBI single by sophomore first baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawsfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) and a RBI single by Hunter plated three runs in the fourth to extend the Cougars' lead to 5-0. An infield error with two outs in the bottom of the fifth proved costly as the Eagles were able to score four runs in the frame with three coming after the error to make it, 5-4. However, Nonnemacher would strike out the side in the sixth and SXU would get an insurance run off a RBI by Saunders to help secure the win.
Saint Xavier (23-8 overall/8-2 CCAC) takes a week off for the Easter holiday and returns to its regular season slate on Thursday, April 12, with a tough conference doubleheader against No. 14 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The first game of the twin-bill starts at 3 p.m. in Bourbonnais, Ill.