CHICAGO – A pair of victories in relief by junior pitcher Caroline Kuzel (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) helped the Saint Xavier University softball team sweep Robert Morris University (Ill.) in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at the SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The Cougars (19-21 overall/8-10 CCAC) rallied from an early 6-0 deficit to take game one by an 11-7 final and then trailed 3-2 late in game two before scoring seven unanswered runs to win, 9-3. Kuzel combined to throw 7.2 innings on the day and moved her season record to 4-2 with the two victories allowing a total of five hits, one run (earned) and two walks with two strikeouts. Sophomore centerfielder Frankie Demack (Momence, Ill./Momence) had a big offensive day for SXU combining for five hits, including a pair of doubles, and scoring three runs.
Game one proved to be a wild one as the Eagles took advantage of a dropped foul ball with two outs and proceeded to score five runs in the top of the second inning to build an early 6-0 advantage. Saint Xavier answered in a big way in the bottom of the third with 13 at-bats in the frame leading to eight runs off six hits and a pair of errors. Senior third baseman Savannah Kinsella (Munster, Ind./Andrean) hit a two-run double down the left field line and freshman right fielder Tori Williams (Wadsworth, Ill./Zion-Benton Township) blasted a two-run triple to left field to help power the big inning. Kuzel helped her cause in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI off an infield single as the Cougars scored three more runs to build a 11-6 lead. RMU added an RBI double in the top of the seventh to complete the game's scoring. Kinsella finished the game a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Kuzel threw the final 5.1 innings and allowed five hits, a run (earned) and no walks with a strikeout.
Freshman Amanda Ruskowsky (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) got the scoring started in game two hitting a two-run homer over the wall in centerfield in the bottom of the third inning. Robert Morris used an RBI single and a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to take the 3-2 lead. However, SXU took over from there scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fifth to take the lead for good. Ruskowsky, Kinsella and Williams all had RBI singles in the fifth-inning rally. The Cougars put the game away in the bottom of the sixth scoring four more runs with the big hit, a two-run single to right field by Williams. Senior Callie Brown (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) got the start in the circle for SXU in game two and pitched 4.2 innings giving up seven hits, three runs (all earned) and no walks with four strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (19-21 overall/8-10 CCAC) heads up to Deerfield, Ill., on Saturday, April 22, for a road doubleheader against Trinity International University (Ill.). The first game of the pair begins at 12 p.m. at TIU Softball Field.