Clermont, Fla. – Kicking off its new season at the National Training Center (NTC) Spring Games hosted by two-time Olympic gold medalist Dr. Dot Richardson, the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University softball team has used its strong pitching to a 4-0 start after two games on Friday and two more on Saturday in Clermont, Fla. Both senior Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) and sophomore sister Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) both picked up where they left off last season. Megan Nonnemacher threw a pair of shutouts in her first two outings, while Nicole notched a shutout in her opener and allowed just two earned runs en route to another win Saturday.
In Friday's 6-0 victory over Point Park University (Pa.), Nicole Nonnemacher racked up an amazing 17 strikeouts and gave up just two hits and a walk en route to the shutout win. Junior centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) and freshman shortstop Savannah Kinsella (Munster, Ind./Andrean) paced the offensive attack for SXU Friday. Lauret went 3-for-4 at the plate with a run scored, while Kinsella finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. After taking a 2-0 lead through the first four innings, the Cougars iced the victory with four more runs in the top of the seventh.
The late game Friday proved to be a pitching duel between Megan Nonnemacher and Grace College's Alex Shipley. Megan ended up with the 1-0 win after Saint Xavier secured the game in the bottom of the seventh with sophomore second baseman Kasey Kanaga (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) reaching on a single and later scoring the go-ahead run following a throwing error. Kanaga led the offense going 2-for-3 with the run scored. Megan Nonnemacher notched her first victory of the season (1-0) by throwing all seven frames and allowing five hits and two walks toward the shutout.
After giving up four runs in the bottom of the first inning, the Cougars were forced to rally back to claim a 9-5 victory over Grace in Saturday's early game. Not only was Nicole Nonnemacher tough on the mound, but she helped her cause tremendously at the plate as well going a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Junior first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) also had a solid game offensively going 1-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI. Saint Xavier scored all nine of its runs over the third and fourth innings to take control of the game. Nicole Nonnemacher allowed 10 hits, five runs (two earned) and three walks with seven strikeouts to pick up her second win of the year (2-0). In the late game, Megan Nonnemacher threw a three-hit shutout with a career-best 14 strikeouts to lead the Cougars to a 1-0 victory over Cornerstone University (Mich.) in eight innings. Nicole Nonnemacher provided the game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth.
Saint Xavier (4-0 overall) continues play in the NTC Spring Games on Sunday, March 9, with a game against Ave Maria University (Fla.) at 11 a.m. (eastern). The Cougars follow that up with another game against Alderson-Broaddus College (W.V.) at 1 p.m. (eastern).