Nonnemachner named Athlete of the Month for March
For Nicole Nonnemacher, March went out like a lion.
St. Xavier University’s sophomore softball pitcher capped a memorable month of award receiving by being named as the school’s Athlete of the Month last week. Previously, Nonnemacher had been chosen as the NAIA National Pitcher of the Week and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, both honors coming right after she had dominated in the circle during her appearances on the Cougars’ season-opening Florida trip.
Nonnemacher’s work down south included three no-hitters. For the month as a whole, she went 6-1 to spur a 14-2 start for SXU, one of its best in program history. Nonnemacher was also credited with a pair of saves.
Her other key stats, compiled over 51 innings, included a 0.27 earned-run average, 84 strikeouts and five shutouts. She issued just six bases-on-balls.
The Athlete of the Month award, sponsored by World Hyundai Matteson, was to be presented to Nonnemacher during an upcoming home game.
The NAIA No. 4-ranked Cougars ushered in the CCAC portion of their season in a good way last Tuesday, as they shut out Robert Morris University twice at SXU Softball Field. The hosts triumphed 6-0 and 8-0, with the latter contest lasting only five innings.
Both Nicole and Megan Nonnemacher logged pitching wins, and each player was backed by an errorless defense. Nicole Nonnemacher fanned nine, walked two and allowed three hits while producing her sixth whitewash of the campaign.
Supporting her offensively in the opener were junior Katie Sears and sophomore Kasey Kanaga, who collected five hits between them. Sears scored the game’s initial run on a passed ball in the first inning, then unloaded a two-RBI double in the fourth to highlight a five-run uprising, which the Eagles unintentionally aided with two errors.
Nonnemacher matched Kanaga by also stroking a pair of hits.
Megan Nonnemacher raised her record to 7-1 by surrendering just one hit and a walk while striking out three in Game 2. The shutout was her fourth of the year.
Nonnemacher was staked to a lead right away, as senior Katie Houlihan’s groundout and another Robert Morris miscue resulted in two Cougars tallies. Houlihan, Sears and Nicole Nonnemacher all delivered RBI singles in the fourth frame, then SXU concluded its production with run-scoring doubles from senior Ariel Hinton (two RBI) and freshman Franchesca Graffeo one stanza later.
An RBI single by Nicole Nonnemacher with two outs in the top of the ninth broke a tie and helped boost the Cougars to a 3-2 victory over Calumet College of St. Joseph last Friday and enabled them to earn a CCAC doubleheader split with the Crimson Wave at the Whiting (Ind.) Sports Complex. Calumet College captured the opener by a 4-3 score when Jasmine Rivera slugged a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh.
After Nonnemacher put SXU (19-3, 3-1) ahead, her sister Megan finished off the Crimson Wave in the circle. Megan Nonnemacher ended Game 2 with 10 strikeouts while tossing a four-hitter. She was able to prosper in spite of giving up an uncharacteristically high eight walks.
Other key figures for the Cougars at the plate were junior Amanda Hainlen and Kanaga, who worked together in producing SXU’s initial run in the top of the first. Hainlen was credited with the RBI after bunting Kanaga home from third base. The Cougars tallied their other marker on a Calumet College error in the second.
Nicole Nonnemacher absorbed the Game 1 pitching loss despite registering eight strikeouts and yielding just two free passes over 6 1/3 innings. The Crimson Wave did reach her for seven hits, and two of their four runs were earned.
The Cougars went ahead 2-1 in the second stanza after capitalizing on back-to-back Calumet College errors, but the Crimson Wave moved back in front in the bottom of that same frame, with a wild pitch and single being responsible for supplying the runs. Freshman Savannah Kinsella then pulled SXU even in the fifth with her RBI single.
The Cougars missed out on a chance to regain an edge in the top of the seventh when they stranded a runner at third, then Rivera made them pay for that failure to score a half-inning later when she belted her game-winning round-tripper.
Venturing outside the CCAC on Sunday, SXU found success in Clinton, Iowa, where it blanked host Ashford University twice. The Nonnemachers sisters led the Cougars to 2-0 and 9-0 triumphs at River Queen Field.
Megan Nonnemacher upped her record to 9-1 by tossing a two-hitter and striking out eight in the opener. Kinsella’s RBI single in the fourth gave Nonnemacher the only run she’d need, but SXU tacked on an insurance marker in the seventh when Sears went deep. The homer was the first of the season for the Cougars and first one of Sears’ collegiate career.
Kanaga finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base and run scored to pace SXU’s offense.
Game 2 lasted only five stanzas, as the Cougars quickly took command. SXU was ahead 5-0 by the fourth inning, as Nicole Nonnemacher (single), Hinton (bases-loaded walk) and Hainlen (bunt) each recorded an RBI. The Cougars also tallied on a wild pitch and Ashford error.
A four-run fifth, featuring four SXU hits and two more Ashford miscues, set the final margin. Nicole Nonnemacher racked up 10 strikeouts, issued no walks and surrendered just three hits in winning for the eighth time in 10 tries. The whitewash was her seventh of the spring.
The Cougars were back in action this past Tuesday, when they took on Roosevelt University in a CCAC matchup in Rosemont.
Thirty-one hits over two games propelled the Cougars to a doubleheader sweep of the University of St. Francis last Tuesday at Richard R. Ferrell Field. SXU (8-15, 2-0) won the pair of CCAC contests by scores of 8-7 and 15-5.
The Cougars trailed 6-2 entering the bottom of the sixth after having surrendered three runs to the Fighting Saints in the top of that same frame, but they responded with a four-run outburst of their own to pull even. Freshman Bryan Polak’s bases-clearing double was the pivotal blow in the rally. After USF regained the edge in the top of the seventh, SXU tallied twice in its final at-bat as senior Brad Myjak drove in the tying and deciding markers with his single following an inning-prolonging Saints miscue.
Polak and Myjak finished the day with a combined 10 hits, 11 RBI and eight runs scored. Polak included three doubles among his six safeties, while Myjak had a homer and double.
Freshman Adrian Luna earned the pitching win in relief of freshman Jesse Lopez.
Game 2 belonged to the Cougars from the get-go, as they constructed a 9-1 advantage after four innings. Besides Myjak’s round-tripper, SXU also benefited from sophomore Alec Barnhart’s homer and junior Bryan Villanova’s four-hit performance, which included two RBI and two runs scored.
Freshman Jeremy Dryier pitched the first 6 2/3 innings on a yield of four hits to log the victory. Luna worked the last 1 1/3 stanzas and struck out one batter.
Barnhart went 3-for-5 with a homer, double, three runs and two RBI to spearhead a robust SXU attack on Friday. That offense, which included a total of seven extra-base hits, laid the groundwork for a 12-2 rout of Trinity International University in the opener of a three-game CCAC series.
Senior Chris Klein was an able accomplice for Barnhart as he was 4-for-4 and scored four times. Other multiple-hit men included Myjak (double, triple, three RBI, two runs) and senior Tom Keating (homer, three RBI).
The Cougars (11-15, 6-2) trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third, but Myjak’s two-RBI triple highlighted a three-run rally that put SXU ahead for keeps. Keating and Barnhart added two-run homers in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, that turned the game into a romp for the locals.
Sophomore Jim Augle, Polak and freshman Ryan Pellack also had RBI for the Cougars in support of pitcher Scott Vachon, who pocketed his second consecutive victory on the hill. Vachon scattered eight hits, walked two and whiffed nine in improving his ledger to 2-3.
SXU completed a sweep of the Trojans on Saturday, when it posted 9-4 and 6-2 wins at Richard R. Ferrell Field. The victories were the Cougars’ fourth and fifth in succession.
Klein and junior Dan Wetzel both triumphed on the hill. Klein went the distance in the opener and yielded eight hits while striking out five and walking three. Wetzel also fanned five and walked three during a six-inning stint, which featured Trinity collecting just four hits and scoring only an unearned run.
SXU, which was the visiting team on its own field because the games were originally scheduled to be played in Deerfield, handed Klein a lead in the top of the third on RBI hits from Villanova and Augle. After watching the Trojans regain the lead in their portion of the frame, the Cougars responded with a seven-run fifth stanza that was sparked by Barnhart’s two-RBI double.
RBI doubles by Polak, Villanova and Barnhart between the second and fourth innings staked SXU to a 4-0 edge in the second contest. Later RBI were garnered by Pellack (bases-loaded walk) and freshman Tom Hayes (sacrifice fly).