Softball struggles against South Florida

Orange play poorly on offense and defense in rough weekend against Bulls.

Syracuse softball (24-8, 3-3) seemed to be off to a promising start before this past weekend. After traveling south to play South Florida (22-15, 4-0) and getting swept by the Bulls, expectations are a bit tempered. The weekend lacked any offense from the Orange along with porous defense.

The first game of the series was all told within the first inning. After Syracuse outfielder Lisaira Daniels hit a single in the top of the first inning she stole second to get into scoring position, but would be stranded by the excellent pitching of Lindsey Richardson. In the home half of the inning the Bulls would end up scoring three runs off of ace Jenna Caira thanks to two defensive errors and a single by South Florida’s Stephanie Medina, which brought in two runs. The three runs were all that Richardson would need, as she would only have trouble in the third when she surrendered a home run to Stephanie Watts, her seventh of the season. On the other side of the diamond, Caira’s one earned run would be the only one she surrendered as she held the Bulls in check by retiring fourteen in a row between the first and the fifth innings. The effort of Caira would be to no avail as the Bulls would hold onto their lead and win, 3-1.

The latter game of the doubleheader wasn’t close until the later innings. For the second game in a row, the Bulls scored multiple runs in the first inning. This time it was due to an errant throw by Hallie Gibbs to first, resulting in South Florida’s first run of the game. South Florida took advantage of the misplay and drove in another run on a sharply hit single to take a 2-0 lead. The score would remain that way until the third when South Florida’s Kourtney Salvarola crushed a two-run home run over the left field wall. The lead would grow to seven after a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly the following inning. Syracuse wouldn’t let down as they made an attempt to come back in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth Watts hit her second home run of the day and her eighth on the season to cut the lead down to 7-2. After scoring a run in the sixth the Orange headed into the seventh down by four runs. After a single and two walks the Orange had a chance to tie the game with a home run but were unable to do so, leading to South Florida taking the victory.

The last game of the series was primarily a pitching duel but was ended up being decided by the horrendous defense of the Orange. SU made five errors which led to all four of South Florida’s runs. The four runs were scored in the first inning, the only runs scored for either team the rest of the way. Caira pitched very well allowing no earned runs and only allowed five hits in five innings of work. Her counterpart, Sara Nevins, pitched fantastically and would have had a no hitter if it wasn’t for Caira’s double in the seventh inning. Syracuse plays this weekend against Notre Dame for their first home series of the year.

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