CHICAGO – Behind solid starts by sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) and senior righty Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) as well as an impressive offensive performance by senior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora), the No. 22 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team swept a pair of games from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foe Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) Tuesday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (28-9 overall/13-3 CCAC) won the first game, 7-0, with Nonnemacher (15-4 overall) throwing a three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts and no walks. SXU won the second game, 9-1, in five innings with Brown giving up seven hits and an earned run with two walks and two strikeouts. In the month of April, the Cougars are 9-1 overall with their lone loss coming on the road against No. 13 Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) on a game-ending, three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
After three scoreless innings, Saint Xavier plated a run in the bottom of the fourth when Hunter hit a solo shot over the wall in left-centerfield. Two fielding errors by the Panthers helped the Cougars score two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 3-0. Freshman designated hitter Sarah Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) and freshman left fielder Samantha Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) both hit RBI singles in the bottom of the sixth and each later scored on wild pitches to help SXU score four more runs to cap the scoring. Junior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) each went 2-for-3 at the plate in the first game.
The second game proved to be more of the same as the Cougars scattered 10 hits and scored four runs in the first inning to capture the 9-1 victory. Hunter, Lauret, Sarah Saunders and freshman second baseman Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) each finished with two hits. Hunter went 2-for-3 with a homer, a triple, two runs scored and three RBI. Brown moved to 11-3 on the year with the victory on the mound. Hunter hit a two-RBI triple in the first inning to highlight the four-run frame.
Saint Xavier (28-9 overall/13-3 CCAC) heads to Whiting, Ind., for a conference doubleheader with Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.). The first game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. (central) start.