Syracuse Softball Finishes Felsberg Invitational on a High Note
By Sam Lebowitz
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
MIAMI, Fla. – The SU Softball team is leaving the Felsberg Invitational with a winning record. Syracuse (2-1, 0-0 ACC) took down Michigan State (0-4, 0-0 Big Ten) 5-1 on Sunday, thanks to solid pitching from ace Alexa Romero and newcomer Kaia Oliver, as well as an explosive fifth inning.
The game entered that fifth inning in a 1-1 deadlock. Both Romero and Spartans pitcher Sarah Ladd had been pitching well, but then, the Orange offense finally broke through. It started with an innocent bunt single from Jaime Barta. Add in an error and a passed ball, and Syracuse had runners at second and third with just one out.
AJ Kaiser, who had begun the season 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, drove a single to centerfield, scoring both runners and putting Syracuse ahead. Kaiser had also drove the first Syracuse run home with a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Later in the frame, Alli Walker stepped onto the mound for the Spartans, and Neli Casares-Maher pushed a squeeze bunt for single, scoring another SU run. Toni Martin tacked on a fourth run with a sacrifice fly, putting the Orange up 5-1.
Romero picked up where she left off from Saturday’s win over Penn State with a solid effort against Michigan State. The left-hander tossed four innings, giving up just a run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. She threw just 58 pitches after tossing 123 in her start against the Nittany Lions.
Romero departed in the fifth after working into a bases loaded, nobody out jam. So, SU head coach Shannon Doepking turned to freshman right-hander Kaia Oliver to protect the lead. Oliver turned in an impressive relief outing, striking out her first batter and retiring the next two on ground balls. She gave up just a single and a hit by pitch in her three innings of work.
Syracuse will head to Durham, North Carolina next weekend for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The first matchup is against Rutgers on Friday, February 14th, at 3 p.m.
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