Clermont, Fla. – With its offensive production beginning to catch up with the strong and fast start of its pitching, the No. 25 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team has been on a recent roll winning its last six games in Florida and extending its current win streak to eight games after starting the 2013 season with a 2-2 mark. Racking up 26 runs and 45 hits over the past six contests and boasting a pitching staff that has allowed just five total runs over the stretch, the offensive surge has translated into six straight victories for the Cougars. Freshman second baseman Kasey Kanaga (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) has been instrumental in the surge playing in five of the last six games and going a combined 9-for-17 at the plate with a double, a triple, four runs scored and four RBI.
On Monday, the Cougars got a thrilling 1-0 win over Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio) behind a no-hitter by freshman Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community). She threw all seven frames and gave up just three walks with 12 strikeouts to capture the first no-hitter of her very young collegiate career. Nonnemacher also provided the game's only offense posting SXU's lone hit, a one-out double in the top of the first inning. She later scored on a groundout that proved to be the game's only run as well. In the late game against Mount Vernon, Saint Xavier rode another stellar pitching performance with junior Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) hurling a three-hit shutout with four strikeouts. SXU scored a run off an error in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead and then added two more runs in the fourth highlighted by a RBI single from sophomore right fielder Holly Hilden (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere North). A RBI single by junior first baseman Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) in the fifth completed the game's scoring.
Kanaga led the way with three hits in a 4-3 victory Wednesday over Spring Arbor University (Mich.). Megan Nonnemacher got the win (4-1) in relief throwing 5.1 innings and giving up just two hits, a run and a walk with seven strikeouts. SXU trailed 2-1 after the first inning, but took back the lead in the top of the second with two runs highlighted by a RBI single from Kanaga. A solo homer to left field by sophomore first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) in the fifth inning gave the Cougars just enough cushion to hang on for the one-run win. In Wednesday's late game, Saint Xavier scored early and often in a 9-1 victory (six innings) over Marian University (Ind.). Kanaga and Nicole Nonnemacher each recorded three hits, while Nonnemacher also got the win on the mound throwing all six innings and allowing seven hits, one run (earned) and two walks with eight strikeouts.
In the early game Thursday, the Cougars racked up 12 hits in a 7-1 win over Spring Arbor. Sophomore third baseman Sarah Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) had a hot bat going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Nicole Nonnemacher pitched another gem allowing just six hits, a run (earned) and no walks with 11 strikeouts over the seven-inning affair to improve to 5-1 on the year. SXU scored all seven of its runs over the second and third innings. The late game Thursday against NCAA Division II Sioux Falls (S.D.) proved to be a pitcher's duel. With the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the sixth, senior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) provided the decisive RBI on a fielder's choice that scored Kanaga from third. Megan Nonnemacher moved her record to 5-1 this season throwing the four-hit shutout with two walks and 13 strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (10-2 overall) wraps up its Florida "Spring Break" trip this weekend. The Cougars play four more games with a pair on Friday against Marian University (Ind.) and Webber International University (Fla.). Those games are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (eastern). On Saturday, SXU plays its final two games of the trip taking on Mount Mercy University (Iowa) at 8 a.m. (eastern) and Grand View University (Iowa) at 10 a.m. (eastern).