Syracuse Softball Drops First Two Games of Weekend, Continue to Struggle
By Sam Lebowitz
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
Houston, Texas – Syracuse (3-6, 0-0 Atlantic Coastal) took a pair of losses in their opening day doubleheader to start the Houston Challenge.
Catie Dobbs took the ball for Syracuse in the early matchup Texas Tech (9-3, 0-0 Big 12). It was the freshman’s first start in the circle for the Orange and just second pitching appearance this season. She acquitted herself well by tossing a 110-pitch, complete game effort in a 4-3 loss to the Red Raiders. She allowed four runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Dobbs did not run into much trouble, but when she did, it was because of the long ball. All four Texas Tech runs came via home runs. First baseman Zoe Jones took Dobbs over the leftfield fence after a leadoff walk to Maddie Westmoreland in the second inning. In the sixth inning, Breanna Russell drove a two-run homer to center to turn a one-run Syracuse lead into a one-run deficit.
The lone offensive tally of the game for Syracuse also came by way of a home run. Toni Martin blasted her first of the year, a three-run shot, in the bottom of the second inning to give Syracuse the lead immediately after Dobbs had served up the homer to Jones. Both offenses went cold after that point until the sixth, when Russell turned the game on its head with two out.
A third-inning single by Jamie Gregg was the only other Syracuse hit besides the homer. The lineup was shut down by a combination of GiGi Wall and Missy Zoch. The two combined to strikeout nine Orange hitters in the game. Zoch threw four perfect innings of relief with six strikeouts.
The second matchup against the University of Houston (8-4, 0-0 American Athletic) was not as close as the first game. Syracuse was ousted in five innings by an 8-0 score by mercy rule. Alexa Romero’s inconsistencies continued, as she allowed six hits, three walks and four runs over three backbreaking innings. Miranda Hearn relieved her to start the fourth and fared no better, allowing four runs in an inning-and-two-thirds before the game-ending run scored in the fifth.
Seven of the eight Cougar runs were driven in by just two players. Becca Shulte drove a three-run homer off Hearn in the fourth to make the Houston lead seven runs at the time. But the big offensive story was Sarah Queen. The Cougar third baseman had two doubles and a triple in four trips to the plate and drove home four runs, including the final score on a double. She was nearly unstoppable.
The Orange offense had no answers for Logan Hulon. The freshman pitcher limited the Orange to just a Jaime Barta single and four walks in her five frames. She previously no-hit Valparaiso University in her college debut back on February 7th.
Syracuse will get back onto the diamond with two more games tomorrow, against Louisiana Tech and Princeton. The first game starts at 11:30 a.m.
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