Clermont, Fla. – Off to the best start (14-2 overall) in the 13-year span of current Saint Xavier University head coach Myra Minuskin and the program's best start since the team opened with a 12-3 record back in 2000, the No. 25 ranked SXU softball team closed out its annual "Spring Break" trip with four more victories and extended its win streak to 12 games this past weekend at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Cougars (14-2 overall) took down Marian University (Ind.), 5-4, and Webber International University (Fla.), 4-1, on Friday. Saint Xavier then followed that with a 2-0 win over Mount Mercy University (Iowa) and a 5-2 victory over Grand View University (Iowa) Saturday. Freshman righty Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) was stellar both at the plate and on the mound for SXU during the final four games of the trip racking up six hits, five runs scored and two RBI offensively as well as a 2-0 record with 20 strikeouts over two starts as the pitcher.
The Cougars were forced to rally in Friday's first game against Marian after trailing 4-2 heading into the sixth inning. Sophomore first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) came up with a clutch two-out, three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the frame to give Saint Xavier the 5-4 lead for good. Hainlen led the offensive attack going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Nonnemacher finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Junior right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) got the victory (6-1) throwing all seven frames and allowing seven hits, four runs (two earned) and two walks with eight strikeouts. Senior shortstop Ashley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill./UW-Parkside/Lemont) posted three hits and two RBI in Friday's 4-1 win over Webber International Friday. Sullivan helped score SXU's first run in the top of the first with a RBI off an infield single. In the third inning, sophomore centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead on a RBI single up the middle. Sullivan and senior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) each turned in RBI singles in the fourth to complete Saint Xavier's scoring. Nicole Nonnemacher moved to 6-1 on the season allowing three hits, a run (earned) and no walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Mollohan hit a solo homer to centerfield in the top of the first inning to kick off Saturday's 2-0 victory over Mount Mercy. A sacrifice fly by Hainlen in the fifth inning gave SXU some added cushion and Megan Nonnemacher all the offensive support she needed to improve to 7-1 on the year. She threw all seven frames and gave up just six hits and two walks in the shutout, her fourth of the young season, to go along with nine strikeouts. The Cougar offense picked it up in the late game against Grand View. Saint Xavier scored two runs apiece in each of the first two innings to take an early 4-1 lead. Nicole Nonnemacher's two-RBI single to right field in the bottom of the second was one of the key highlights of the fast start. She also got the win (7-1) on the mound going all seven innings and allowing just two hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with 12 strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (14-2 overall) begins Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Tuesday, March 19. The Cougars head to Joliet, Ill., Tuesday for a road doubleheader against rival University of St. Francis (Ill.). The first game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start, weather permitting.