Notre Dame spoils SU Softball home opener

Syracuse softball had its home opener during the first warm spell of the spring, but Notre Dame spoiled the party handing the Orange back-to-back defeats Sunday.

Syracuse’s home opener was delayed a day due to travel problems by visiting Notre Dame. Following back-to-back losses at the hands of the Irish, the Orange are probably wishing it had been delayed a little longer.

On what started out as a gorgeous day Syracuse, the weather turned, becoming as bad as the play of the Orange. The two losses extended SU’s (24-10, 3-5) Big East losing streak to five games, while Notre Dame remained undefeated in conference play.

The game started out well for the Orange as catcher Lacey Kohl sent a solo home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the first. The Irish responded immediately with a solo home run of their own by starting shortstop, Katy Fleury. The Irish then took their first lead, 2-1, on an RBI single by Sadie Pitzenberger.

The Orange would leave runners on first and second in the bottom of the second, and the Irish took advantage of Syracuse’s missed opportunity to score runs. The Irish ended up scoring three runs in the top of the third, thanks in large part to the designated hitter, Amy Buntin, hitting a two run homer. The Orange then allowed another run leading to a 6-1 deficit in the fifth inning.

Once again, Syracuse threatened to score but couldn’t execute as the Orange left two more players stranded on the base. The trend continued in the sixth as starting shortstop Morgan Nandin hit a shot to deep left centerfield that was caught by the Irish, leaving a couple orange base runners stranded. The missed opportunities were the downfall of the Orange, as the Irish finished the game off due to back home runs to extend their lead to nine to one.

The second game of the home opener was much closer. Orange ace Jenna Caira struggled early as she allowed a two-run homer in the second inning. However, Syracuse stepped up as first baseman Kelly Saco hit an opposite field home run over the right field wall. Notre Dame than hit a solo home run in the top half of the next inning, followed by an RBI single.

In the bottom of the third, Hallie Gibbs brought in Lisaira Daniels with a RBI double, but miscommunication with the third base coach caused both Kohl and Gibbs to be at third leading to an automatic out. Notre Dame responded with a two run double extending the lead, 6-3.

Syracuse stayed in the game with a triple by Veronica Grant, which brought in a run. The Irish added an insurance run in the top of the fifth, and that would be the last score of the game as SU fell 7-4. The Orange will look to rebound from the two losses when they play a doubleheader Wednesday against Providence at 1 p.m.

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