Bourbonnais, Ill. – Saint Xavier University sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) improved to 13-4 on the year with a 3-1 win over No. 13 ranked Olivet Nazarene University in game two of Thursday's big Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) softball doubleheader at Tiger Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars (24-9 overall/9-3 CCAC) lost a heartbreaker, 6-4, in the day‘s opening game after the Tigers ended things with a three-run homer by sophomore second baseman Hannah Gardner with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Senior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) had a very productive day at the plate for SXU going a combined 3-for-8 with a homer, a double, two runs scored and a RBI.
The Cougars got off to a great start in Thursday's first game scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on a solo home run from sophomore first baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) and a RBI single by junior shortstop Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./University of Wisconsin-Parkside/Lemont). Olivet Nazarene hit a solo homer in the bottom of the second to make the score, 2-1; but Saint Xavier answered right back in the top of the third with a RBI single by junior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) to go back ahead by two runs, 3-1. The two teams would trade runs again in the fourth and fifth innings. ONU hit another solo homer in the bottom of the fourth before Sullivan logged another RBI single in the top of the fifth to make it, 4-2. Senior right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) got out of a jam in the fifth and put the Tigers down in order in the sixth. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Olivet took advantage of a walk, a double and a hit batter to help set the stage for Gardner's game-ending homer. Brown took the loss (9-3) going 6.1 innings and allowing eight hits, six runs (all earned) and two walks with 10 strikeouts.
Nonnemacher kept the ONU bats in check in the late game giving up just four hits, an earned run and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings of work. Saint Xavier scored the game's first run in the top of the third when Hinton reached on an infield error that scored freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) from third base. The Tigers tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI double. Hunter provided the go-ahead run in the sixth with a solo shot with one out to make it a 2-1 game. Freshman second baseman Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) gave SXU some insurance in the seventh with a RBI single. Nonnemacher allowed just one hit, a single, in the bottom of the frame to secure the key conference win.
Saint Xavier (24-9 overall/9-3 CCAC) hosts a conference doubleheader against Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) on Saturday, April 14. The first game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. at SXU Softball Field in Chicago.