CHICAGO – Leaving a combined 17 runners on the base paths for the day, the No. 22 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team could not get the timely hits and dropped a pair of non-conference games to Grand View University (Iowa) Friday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (29-12 overall) lost the first game, 3-1, despite nine strikeouts by sophomore right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community). Four key errors proved critical in the late game as SXU lost 6-2 with five of the six runs scored by GVU being unearned.
Friday's opener started out as a pitcher's duel between Nonnemacher and freshman Jessica Stickel with just three total hits allowed over the first four innings. Senior first baseman Jenna Baker led off the top of the fifth with a homer to left field to give the Vikings a 1-0 advantage. A RBI single by junior shortstop Anna Arnold in the sixth made it, 2-0, for the visitors. Grand View would take a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth after scoring a run off a RBI single by senior left fielder Ashley Flowers in the top half of the frame. Junior shortstop Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont) would get an infield single to drive in a run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was all the Cougars would get as the game ended with a double play. Sullivan went 2-for-2 in the game with the lone RBI. Nonnemacher threw all seven frames and fell to 15-6 on the year allowing six hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks with the nine strikeouts.
A RBI single through the right side by senior designated hitter Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) put Saint Xavier ahead, 1-0, in the bottom of the first in game two. A sacrifice fly by Grand View tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the third scoring Flowers from third base after she reached on a throwing error. Another error kept the fourth inning alive for the Vikings and Flowers made the Cougars pay by hitting a two-RBI double to cap a three-run frame. The score stayed at 4-1 until the final inning when GVU got a two-run homer from Arnold to extend the lead to 6-1. Freshman catcher Alexandra Bahner (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) hit a solo shot to centerfield in the bottom of the seventh for SXU to make it, 6-2. Senior right-hander Nicole Derezinski (St. John, Ind./Andrean) suffered the loss (2-3) throwing all seven innings and giving up eight hits, six runs (one earned) and a walk with one strikeout.
Saint Xavier (29-12 overall/14-4 CCAC) hosts another non-conference doubleheader on Saturday, April 21, against William Penn University (Iowa). The first game is scheduled for a 11 a.m. start at SXU Softball Field.