Clermont, Fla. – Behind the strong pitching performances of junior right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) and freshman righty Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community), the No. 25 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team opened the first six games of its annual "Spring Break" trip with a 4-2 record at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Cougars (4-2 overall) started the trip with a tough 2-1 loss to Hannibal-LaGrange College (Mo.) on Friday, but then bounced back with a big 8-0 win over Point Park University (Pa.) in the late game. On Saturday, SXU split a doubleheader with Saint Anselm College (N.H.) winning the first game, 2-0, but dropping the nightcap, 3-2. Saint Xavier swept a twin-bill from Grace College (Ind.) on Sunday winning both games by a 3-1 score. The Nonnemacher sisters combined to throw 38 of the 41 total innings over the first six games and allowed a total of just 21 hits, six runs (three earned) and 11 walks with 45 strikeouts.
Megan Nonnemacher got the first starting assignment in Friday's opener against Hannibal-LaGrange and threw well going all seven frames and allowing six hits, two runs (one earned) and no walks with eight strikeouts. Sophomore designated hitter Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored to pace the SXU offensive attack. The Cougars led 1-0 after five innings of play, but two runs by HLC in the top of the six proved to be the difference. In the late game Friday against Point Park, Nicole Nonnemacher was a force pitching a three-hit shutout with two walks and an amazing 14 strikeouts. She also went 2-for-4 with a double at the plate. Junior designated hitter Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) had a two-run homer in the game, while senior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) went 2-for-2 with a run scored.
Hinton was tough again in Saturday's first game against Saint Anselm. She went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while junior left fielder Katie Houlihan (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North) homered for the Cougars. Megan Nonnemacher matched her sister's Friday effort by pitching a three-hit shutout of her own allowing two walks and striking out five. In the second game Saturday, the Cougars fell behind 3-0 after five innings of play, but got two runs in the top of the sixth off an RBI single by Hinton and an RBI on a walk with the bases loaded by Nicole Nonnemacher. Unfortunately, SXU could not plate another run the rest of the way. Nicole Nonnemacher suffered the loss (1-1) throwing all six innings and giving up three hits, three runs (one earned) and three walks with four strikeouts.
Mollohan paced the Cougar offense in their first 3-1 victory over Grace College going a perfect 2-for-2 with an RBI. Freshman Kasey Kanaga (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) was key as well hitting a timely RBI single in the fifth inning to help Saint Xavier erase an early 1-0 deficit. Megan Nonnemacher picked up the win (2-1) pitching all seven innings and allowing five hits, one run (earned) and a walk with five strikeouts. An RBI single by Hinton and a sacrifice fly by James in the first inning of game two proved to be all the run production SXU needed as Nicole Nonnemacher threw the final four frames in relief of freshman starter Shannon Pedersen (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) to pick up her second victory of the year (2-1). Nonnemacher allowed just one hit and no runs with three walks and nine strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (4-2 overall) continues its Florida trip with a pair of games on Monday, March 11, with a doubleheader against Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio). The twinbill is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (eastern) start.