The Orange Shut Out Colgate in Dome Opener

Jenna Caira strikes out 7 in the first home game of the season.

Home plate was near the 50-yard line, field goal posts were used as foul poles, and bases were mounted into the turf of Ernie Davis Legends Field for the first ever softball game in the Carrier Dome. 

"It was so much fun, great energy in here," head coach Leigh Ross said. "The girls were extra excited to have so many fans here."

The Orange put on a good show for the home fans in the 6-0 victory against the Colgate Raiders. Syracuse was led by a strong pitching performance from senior Jenna Caira, who finished the day after five innings. Caira struck out seven batters and gave up just one hit.

After earning All-Big East accolades last season, Caira returned for her final year and looks to repeat the performance that brought her team into the NCAA tournament last season. Caira earned her 100th strike out of the season tonight, but the excitement of playing in the Carrier Dome overshadowed that.

"It' s a lot of fun, being able to share this with the community," she said. "That's who's out here coming to watch and support us."

Carey-Leigh Thomas now holds the honor of being the first person ever to hit a home run inside the Carrier Dome. She hit a three-run shot during her first at bat of the game. Thomas was the only person to hit a home run tonight but the Orange will get another chance tomorrow night at 6 p.m. against Canisius.

"I was ecstatic," Thomas said about her home run. "I'm glad that my family was here to see it..."

Lacey Kohl and Morgan Nandin also picked up RBIs tonight. Kohl hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field. It looked like it was going to find the stands but then fell just short into left fielder Haley Fleming's glove. Nandin picked up her RBI on a single to right field.

Coach Ross said after the game that nothing was too different for her and her girls. They just went out and played the game. Right fielder Shirley Daniels had a slighty different experience after she had to slide on a steal of second base. 

"My neck, like, bounced up," Daniels said. "It was kinda weird, I wasn't ready for that."

Daniels was worried for a moment that she had hurt herself, but she said after the game that she was fine. Aside from that incident, both the coaches and the players were happy with the event and look forward to doing it again.

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