Story by Saint Xavier University Sports Information
CHICAGO – Setting a new NAIA national team record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched was one of the biggest highlights in a record-setting day for the Saint Xavier (Ill.) softball team Thursday in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) sweep of Judson (Ill.) at SXU Softball Field in Chicago. The No. 9 ranked Cougars (37-3 overall/17-1 CCAC) rallied to take the first game, 3-1, and then picked up a 6-1 victory in the second game.
SXU came into the game needing just one out to surpass the previous NAIA record of scoreless innings pitched of 57.1 set by former member California Baptist during the 2010 season. The Cougars went 3.1 innings of scoreless softball before the Eagles broke the streak with a run with one out in the top of the fourth. Saint Xavier now owns the new record of 60.2 innings.
Saint Xavier also won its 21st-straight game setting a new program record for most consecutive victories, which breaks the previous mark set last spring of 19 games. In addition to the national record and the program streak, senior pitcher Megan Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) tied the school record for career victories with her 80th win during game one. She went all seven innings and allowed five hits, one run (earned) and two walks with six strikeouts to improve to 18-1 on the year.
SXU had to rally back from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth behind back-to-back RBI singles by junior centerfielder Shannon Lauret (Beach Park, Ill./Zion-Benton) and freshman shortstop Franchesca Graffeo (Crestwood, Ill./Shepard). Junior catcher Megan James (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) added a sacrifice fly later in the frame to give the Cougars a 3-1 cushion.
Graffeo and junior left fielder Katie Sears (Chicago, Ill./Evansville/Mother McAuley) got the Cougars on the scoreboard early in game two each recording RBI hits in the bottom of the second to build a 2-0 lead. A Judson throwing error and a sacrifice fly by senior designated hitter Ariel Hinton (Crawfordsville, Ind./Crawfordsville) scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Sophomore pitcher Nicole Nonnemacher (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) and junior first baseman Amanda Hainlen (Bloomington, Ill./Heartland CC/Bloomington) finished off SXU’s scoring in the sixth with an RBI triple by Nonnemacher and a sacrifice bunt by Hainlen. JU scored its lone run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single. Nicole Nonnemacher threw the entire second game and gave up just four hits, one run (earned) and no walks with 16 strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (37-3 overall/17-1 CCAC) wrap up the CCAC portion of their 2014 regular season schedule on Thursday, April 24, with a huge road doubleheader against No. 4 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The Tigers are currently a perfect 17-0 in conference play this season and have won their last 41 games. SXU needs a sweep Thursday to win the conference regular season title.