CHICAGO – Led by a five-hit day by sophomore first baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville), the No. 22 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team got its offense back in gear cranking out 21 total hits in a doubleheader sweep of Lindenwood University-Belleville (Ill.) Sunday afternoon at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (31-14 overall) took the first game, 8-0, in just five innings and then captured a 9-5 victory in the late contest. Senior right-hander Amie Brown (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) threw her fifth shutout of the year in the opener allowing just four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over the five-inning affair. She improves to 13-4 overall this year with the win.
A RBI triple to the gap in right centerfield by sophomore right fielder Katie Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) sparked a two-run frame for SXU in the bottom of the second inning of game one. Freshman left fielder Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) also notched a RBI in the second on an infield groundout. The Cougars ended things early with six more runs in the bottom of the fifth highlighted by a two-RBI single from senior catcher Ashley Hunter (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) and RBI singles by Houlihan, Hinton, junior shortstop Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont) and freshman designated hitter Holly Hilden (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere North).
A two-run homer to left field by Hunter in the bottom of the third inning kicked off the scoring in the late game. Lindenwood-Belleville got a RBI single to centerfield in the top of the fourth to make it a 2-1 game, but the Cougars responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame led by a big two-RBI single up the middle by freshman centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton). Both teams scored two runs in the fifth to make the score, 9-3. Hinton got a RBI single in the frame and James drove in another run with a groundout. Senior right-hander Nicole Derezinski (St. John, Ind./Andrean) recorded the victory (3-3) on the mound for SXU in the nightcap. She threw all seven innings and gave up 12 hits, five runs (all earned) and a walk with three strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (31-14 overall/14-4 CCAC) heads to Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, April 24, for a non-conference doubleheader against NCAA Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The first game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.