Saturday, May 14, 2011

Syracuse Orange Softball: 2011 Big East Champions

By Ben Glidden

The Syracuse Orange Softball team beat Louisville for the second consecutive year to become the 2011 Big East Champions. It was a pitchers duel at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville as it only took one run for the Orange to put away the Cardinals 1-0.

The only run for either team came in the third inning. Kelly Saco got on base with a double and second baseman Stephanie Watts drove her in. The Orange had other opportunities to score but were thrown out at home plate twice by the Louisville center fielder.

The pitching for each team was the story in this game. Louisville starter Tori Collins had an incredible game, giving up just five hits and shutting down Syracuse with nine strikeouts. It was just one instance in the third inning when she showed weakness and the Orange capitalized.

Jenna Caira, the 2011 Big East Pitcher of the Year, didn't bring her best stuff into the game today. But when Caira doesn't bring her best stuff, she still does extremely well. During the game, Syracuse coach Leigh Ross said Caira was just fighting through some nerves. She only gave up five hits but had just four strikeouts.

The Orange won its second consecutive Big East Championship but hopes to perform better this year in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. After an early first round exit last year for the Orange, Syracuse wants to show the nation that the Big East can be a Softball Conference.

Since the Orange won the Big East Championship, the team receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse will find out when and where it plays Sunday night at 10PM during the Tournament Selection show on ESPNU.

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