Somers, Wis. – Senior first baseman Franchesca Graffeo (Crestwood, Ill./Shepard) hit a homer and recorded four RBIs to help lead the Saint Xavier University softball team to an 8-5 victory in game one of its non-conference road doubleheader with NCAA Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside Monday afternoon at Case Complex in Somers, Wis. The Cougars (17-21 overall) struggled in game two though posting just four hits in a 7-0 loss to the Rangers. Junior transfer Haley Earl (Chicago Heights, Ill./Ohio Dominican/Marian Catholic) also picked up her first win (1-1) in an SXU uniform pitching the first five innings of game one and allowing nine hits, three runs (two earned) and three walks with no strikeouts. Junior Caroline Kuzel (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) earned her second career save throwing the final two frames and giving up four hits, two runs (both earned) and two walks with three strikeouts.
UW-Parkside scored first with a run in the bottom of the first inning off an illegal pitch. The Cougars quickly tied the game in the top of the second when Earl hit an RBI single to score senior third baseman Savannah Kinsella (Munster, Ind./Andrean) from second base. However, the Rangers went back ahead, 2-1, in the bottom half of the inning off an RBI double. In the top of the third, Saint Xavier tied the game again when Kinsella hit an RBI double to centerfield to score senior catcher Brittany Plimmer (Bloomingdale, Ill./Kankakee CC/Glenbard East). SXU took its first lead, 4-2, in the top of the fourth when Graffeo crushed a two-run shot over the wall in left field. A solo homer by UW-Parkside in the bottom of the fifth made the score, 4-3. Graffeo came up big again in the top of the seventh capping a four-run frame with a two-run single to right field to help build an 8-3 advantage. The Rangers hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, but Kuzel hung on to earn the save. Unfortunately, the second game was a completely different story as the Cougars could not put together any offensive momentum. Freshman Annalisse Scott (Tinley Park, Ill./Tinley Park) suffered the loss (0-3) pitching the first 1.2 innings and allowing five hits, four runs (all earned) and two walks with no strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (17-21 overall/6-10 CCAC) returns to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Wednesday, April 19, with a home doubleheader against Robert Morris University (Ill.). The first game of the pair is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at SXU Softball Field in Chicago.