Can Syracuse Softball make it to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference?

Photo credit: Athletics
Monday, Apr 01, 2024 at 6:10 pm by Sports Editor

By Nathaniel Cunningham


This past weekend, Syracuse Softball (16-14, 4-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference)  captured its first ACC series win over the second best offense in the conference, Georgia Tech. So with that win, it sparked the conversation of can SU be competitive in the ACC. 


Firstly it’s important to note that of Syracuse’s 23 remaining games, 11 of them are non conference games. 8 of the 11 games are a part of mid week double headers, making it an tough task for SU. What counteracts that is those non-conference opponents have a combined record of 49-80. If the Orange can win all 11 of those non-con games, SU would secure at worst a .500 record. 


So that shifts focus to the 4 remaining conference series but that’s no easy task. SU takes on number 16 Clemson, Pittsburgh, number 11 Virginia Tech, and number 18 Florida State. 


Clemson currently sits at fourth in the ACC and has had Syracuse number in the past. The Tigers hold a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series but this year it may not be as one-sided. Clemson has the 3r best team ERA in the conference with a sub-2. The Orange is just half a run behind the Tigers and seems to be getting better every day. Madison Knight pitched 10 and one-third innings against Georgia Tech and Senior Lindsey Hendrix, who leads the squad in ERA, did not pitch an inning meaning she is rested and ready. 


Pittsburgh is a completely different story for SU. The Orange have a 9-1 record against the Panthers in the past 10 matchups. A big piece of that is because Pitt is last in both hitting and pitching. The only spot they aren’t last in fielding, in which they are second to last. 


To say Syracuse has a Virginia Tech circle on its calendar may be an understatement. The Orange are on a 9-game skid against the Hokies including getting knocked out of the ACC tournament in 2022. However, the Orange still holds an all-time series advantage. This year, VT has posted the best offense and the best defense in the conference. The only downside is that the Hokies rarely throw runners out while SU has only been caught stealing 7 times this season. 


The Orange then ended their season with the best squad in the ACC and last year’s Women’s College World Series runner-ups, Florida State. No school to the east of Arizona has made it to postseason play more than the Seminoles have. And FSU has NEVER had a losing season in program history. In 24 games against Florida State, Syracuse has won just once, its first-ever matchup in 2009. 


So what does this mean for Syracuse softball? It’s going to be a challenge to make it to the ACC tournament especially since 3 of the 4 ACC series are against the top 20 teams. However, SU has a luxury they have not had before. With the exception of Duke earlier this season, every single opponent SU has had to face that is ranked higher than them, they get to play at home, which sets up a nice home crowd and atmosphere for Syracuse.