Syracuse Played With Fire and Got Burned in ACC Opener

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 7:45 pm by Sports Editor

By Tom Russo

CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Orange spent all day barely holding onto a lead, and it came back to bite them in their first conference game of the year.

The scoreboard suggested SU should have pulled off the win, but the sixth inning dictated the eventual 4-2 final as Syracuse (8-15, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) fell in its ACC Opener to Louisville (18-7, 1-0) Friday afternoon.

The Cardinals did not play a good game by any stretch of the imagination as they committed a whopping five errors in the contest. As a result, Syracuse’s lone two runs were unearned.

These errors covered up the Orange’s very poor performance at the plate. Syracuse finished with only five hits, only two of the five coming with runners on base.

To make matters worse, SU struck out nine times against Danielle Watson while only drawing one walk.

Thus, the pressure was on Alexa Romero to defend two different one-run leads. She battled, but like the offense, her struggles caught up to her in the sixth inning.

Romero struck out eight Cardinals, but she also walked six and gave up eight hits. Seven of the hits came in her final two innings, where she gave up all four of the runs.

Sidney Melton and Celene Funke both gave Romero issues all day. Melton drove in all four runs while picking up a pair of hits and a walk. Funke reached base all four times with a pair of triples and a pair of walks.

Romero’s line would’ve looked worse earlier if not for outstanding defense from the Orange throughout the contest.  For just the fourth time this season, Syracuse did not commit an error.

Toni Martin saved at least two runs, making a spectacular diving catch to end the third with the bases loaded. Hannah Dossett also made a great grab in the fourth, running into the dugout railing. Michal Maciolek did her part too, saving pitches that were headed to the backstop.

Ultimately, Louisville emerged victorious as Syracuse’s luck ran out with Melton’s bases-clearing double in the sixth.

The two teams will meet again for game two of the three game set tomorrow at 1 p.m. ǀ @TomRusso24