Joliet, Ill. – Junior designated hitter/catcher Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) racked up five hits, including a double, and four RBI on the day in helping lead No. 13 ranked Saint Xavier University to another softball doubleheader sweep over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) Sunday evening at Harlow Lockwood Field in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars won the first game, 3-2, behind a solid pitching performance by junior right-hander Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community). Freshman right fielder Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) was equally impressive on the mound for SXU in game two, a 4-2 victory for the visiting Cougars. With the Sunday wins, Saint Xavier has now won 12 straight and improves its overall record to 31-3, the best start in the program's history according to team archives. SXU also stayed perfect in conference play at 12-0.
Megan Nonnemacher threw all seven innings of game one and earned the victory to improve to 16-1 on the year. She allowed six hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with eight strikeouts. A two-run double by USF in the bottom of the first inning gave the Fighting Saints an early 2-0 lead. However, the Cougars clawed their way back into the game getting a RBI single from freshman second baseman Kasey Kanaga (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) in the top of the fourth and a RBI single by Hinton in the fifth to tie things up. A sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) in the top of the seventh proved to be the difference in the ballgame. Megan Nonnemacher got out of a tough jam in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third base with one out, but got a strikeout and an infield pop-up to end the game.
Nicole Nonnemacher threw a gem in the day's second game going all seven frames and giving up just two hits, both solo homers, and three walks with 13 strikeouts. With the victory, she moved her record to 15-2 on the season. The Cougars got a RBI double from Hainlen and a RBI single by Hinton to plate two runs in the top of the first inning. A two-run double to centerfield by Hinton in the top of the third put SXU ahead, 4-0, after three innings. The Fighting Saints led off the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings with solo homers to cut the deficit in half, 4-2, but that was as close as it would get. Hinton went 2-for-3 in the game with three RBI. Senior third baseman Kate Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) also had a nice day at the plate for SXU notching a combined four hits and a run scored.
Saint Xavier (31-3 overall/12-0 CCAC) hosts a non-conference doubleheader with NCAA Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Tuesday, April 16. The first game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at the SXU Softball Field in Chicago.