Syracuse Heads to Jacksonville This Weekend for River City Leadoff
By Adam Gotkin | @adam_gotkin
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
Syracuse Softball’s season and its 32-game road trip is now just three days away. Over the next month and a half, the Orange will play in six states: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Indiana, and New York. They start things off in the Sunshine state. The River City Leadoff hosted by the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University gets underway this Friday.
The Orange will play five games in the span of three days, against three opponents. Syracuse plays IUPUI and North Florida twice, and Jacksonville once. Below is a preview of each of Syracuse’s opening weekend opponents.
First up, the Jaguars of IUPUI. SU will play IUPUI Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The Jags struggled mightily last year, finishing just 12-38, and a mere 2-12 in neutral-site games. third basemen Rachel Gregory is a player to look out for. The Indiana native was named 2nd team All-Horizon League last season. She finished the 2022 season batting .274 and was 2nd on the team in RBIs with 16.
Another player to keep your eye on is utility player Kendal Calvert. The sophomore was named to the Horizon league all-freshman team last year. Calvert started 39 games in her first collegiate season, all in right field. Calvert is a player to watch out for on the base paths. She led the Jags in steals with 14.
Next up is one of the tournament hosts, the University of North Florida. The Orange play the Ospreys Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. In last year’s edition of the River City Leadoff, UNF went 4-1. The Ospreys return a few stars from last year’s team. Halle Arends was named the ASUN preseason pitcher of the year. Arends finished last year with an ERA of just 1.74. She had 170 strikeouts in 153 innings.
In the field, keep an eye on outfielder Shannon Glover who was also named to the preseason all-conference team. Glover enters the senior season as the only returning first-team all-conference player on the Ospreys. Glover hit .337 last season. She had 9 HRs and 38 RBIs.
Finally, the team Syracuse will only play once in the River City Leadoff, Jacksonville University. The Orange play at JU on Saturday at 2 p.m. Last year the Dolphins struggled to start their year. JU went 0-4 in the River City Leadoff, ending with an 18-0 loss to Campbell. Jacksonville started their season 0-11. Eventually, the Dolphins were able to get some wins on the board but ended their season only 15-31.
Be on the lookout for the Bratek sisters, Madison and Allison. Madison was named to the ASUN all-freshman team last year while her sister Allison was named to the conference all-freshman team the year prior. The two hope to usher in a new era of Jacksonville softball and lead the team back to winning ways under head coach Erica Ayers.
River City Leadoff Full Schedule:
2/10 vs IUPUI @ 2:30pm
2/10 vs UNF @ 7:30pm
2/11 vs IUPUI @ 11:30am
2/11 vs JU @ 2pm
2/12 vs UNF @ 12:30pm
Follow @adam_gotkin on Twitter for live game updates and all other SU Softball news.