Orange Softball sweeps Cathedral City Classic

Syracuse won five close games over the weekend to improve to 12-2 on the season as they swept the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

Syracuse softball took its talents to Palm Springs, Calif., and had a clean sweep of the competition in this year’s Cathedral City Classic.

In the first game the Orange took down the University of Utah, 4-3. The game took eight innings to complete and had fans enthralled throughout. Rachel Helman and Hallie Gibbs each chipped in with a couple of big hits for SU along with Veronica Grant who hit her 20th career double.

Those players only got them so far though. Kealy McMullan was the freshman hero for the game, as she plated home a run after pinch-hitting in the bottom of the eighth, causing the Orange to win in walk off fashion. Pitcher Jenna Caira was once again an integral part of the win as she pitched the last three and a third innings without surrendering a hit.

In their second contest of the tournament, the Orange took on Hawaii and played another close game. The most dominant player on the field was Caira who threw all seven innings, recorded 16 strikeouts, and surrendered only one earned run.

Caira was dueling with a very good pitcher in Stephanie Ricketts. She pitched incredibly well until Syracuse was able to bring in two runs due to the poor defense behind Ricketts. Hawaii recorded an astounding five errors in one inning and SU took advantage with two runs for the win.

The Orange looked to keep their undefeated streak at the tournament going Saturday when they played Fresno State. Caira threw another complete game and allowed only two earned runs. Another heroic effort was needed in this game as it was the third in a row that the Orange won in the final inning.

This time around, it was Lacey Kohl who hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh which gave Syracuse a 4-3 lead – a lead that was eventually sealed by Caira.

Sunday SU took on Nevada, and the Orange delivered with another nail biting win. This time Kelly Saco grabbed the spotlight, as she hit a single to help Syracuse win on another walk off. Freshman Janine Watson chipped in with the first home run of her career.

Pitchers Caira and Stacy Kuwik combined to throw for 10 strikeouts while allowing only one earned run.

In the final game of the tournament, the Orange took on Cal State Fullerton. Syracuse didn't wait until the last inning to win this game, though it was another close one as the Orange pulled off a 2-1 victory. The win was Caira’s eight of the season, and she did it without allowing an earned run.

The Orange will put their 12-2 record on the line this weekend when they travel from one coast to another. Syracuse will join Pacific, Gardner-Webb, North Dakota State, Valparaiso, and the University of Florida for the University of Florida Tournament in Gainesville, Fla., March 4-6.

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