2024 Syracuse Softball Season Preview

Monday, Jan 29, 2024 at 1:05 pm by Sports Editor

By Nathaniel Cunningham | @N_cunnin_0

A losing season may seem like a disappointment to most. But to Syracuse softball, their 24-26-1 record in 2023 is not nearly as bad when you add the fact that the Orange played just 11 games at Skytop Softball Stadium. 


That is the reality of playing a sport like softball in upstate New York. Players are at the discretion of the weather. Regardless of how much they want to play, if Mother Nature says no, the answer is no. So with just 4 days to go before SU opens its season, on the road, the Orange have played on the field just a handful of times. However this year things are a little different. 


Timely Transfers

The Orange ranked 10th in the ACC in Earned Runs Average in 2023. As a result, head coach Shannon Doepking went and hit the transfer portal to fix the pitching issue. The first was junior Britney Lewinski. The Seminole State transfer posted a 33-5 record in 59 appearances with 26 complete games. The junior held a 0.68 ERA in 2023 striking out almost 10 batters per 7 innings. Joining Lewinski is UMass-Amherst transfer Jessie DiPasquale. The graduate student was top 20 in the Atlantic 10 in ERA coming off her career high 3.42. Rounding out the pitching haul is a sophomore from Purdue, Julianni Verni. The Buffalo native was a top-60 pitcher in the nation in the class of 2022 and an all-state selection in 2021. 


The Dark Knight Rises

While the Orange have a lot of pitching changes coming in 2024, one thing is staying the same, Madison Knight. The sophomore was SU’s primary pitcher in 2023 notching a 2.99 ERA in 147.1 innings. The Baltimore native was immaculate at keeping the ball inside the park, only giving up 10 homers and holding opponents to a .214 batting average. It wasn’t just inside the circle but also at the plate where Knight made an impact. In just her first season of college softball, Knight led SU in Doubles, Runs Batted In, and Walks while maintaining a .256/.348/.444 slash line. 


Defense Wins Championships

Playing over 75% of your games can mean playing in some of the toughest environments softball has to offer. But regardless of where the Orange go, their defense follows. The Orange were top 50 in the nation in fielding percentage last year. SU had 6 of its 9 starters in the top 50 in field percentage in the ACC a season ago.


Only Time Will Tell

Regardless of how much preparation and change Syracuse has made, they still have to hit the grass and turn that into wins. SU starts the year on the road in tournament play with the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in South Carolina. The weekend afterward the Orange travels to Louisiana for the Southeastern Louisiana Lion Classic. Syracuse stays in the Sugar State a week later for the Best of the Bayou Classic. The following weekend The Orange traveled to Durham to take on Duke to open ACC play. One final tournament in Norfolk, Virginia followed by trips to Charollotsville and Chestnut Hill to take on conference foes Virginia and Boston College before Syracuse finally play its first series at home against Georgia Tech. As it is every year, Syracuse’s schedule is not easy but to add insult to injury, The Orange take on all 6 of the ACC squads that made the Softball College World Series last year.