Columbia, Ky. – A solo homer in the sixth inning by junior first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) and another impressive outing on the mound by sophomore Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) were the highlights as the No. 8 ranked and top-seeded Saint Xavier University softball team captured a 3-1 victory over No. 4 seed Cornerstone University (Mich.) on the opening day of play Monday at the 2014 NAIA Opening Round National Championships at Lindsey Wilson Park in Columbia, Ky. Nonnemacher struck out seven, while allowing just a single unearned run off three hits and two walks, to send the Cougars (46-7-1 overall) to the winner's bracket finals against No. 2 seed Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.). She improved to 21-4 on the season with the win.
SXU manufactured a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead with Hainlen scoring the first run on a fielder's choice and junior third baseman Sarah Saunders (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) plating the second run on a wild pitch. Cornerstone battled back in the top of the fifth inning getting back-to-back hits to open the frame, the latter from sophomore second baseman Alex Szajna. Szajna's base hit to left field was bobbled which allowed junior right fielder Ashley Niedermayer to score from second base. Nonnemacher was stingy the rest of the inning stranding runners on second and third with a pair of strikeouts sandwiched between a pop out to left field. Hainlen added an insurance run in the sixth with her team-leading sixth homer of the season with her solo shot to right centerfield. Nonnemacher retired six of the last eight batters she faced to close out the complete-game win.
Saint Xavier (46-7-1 overall) faces host Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) at 11 a.m. (central) on Tuesday followed by Cornerstone and William Penn (Iowa) at 1:30 p.m. CT in a consolation bracket game. Lindsey Wilson defeated No. 3 seed William Penn University (Iowa), 14-0, in five innings in Monday's tournament opener.