Syracuse Softball Plays Two Tight Games, Earns Split in Texas
By Sean Scott
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
HOUSTON, TX – Two exciting games today in the Lone Star State resulted in a split decision for Syracuse (4-7, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) at the Houston Challenge. The Orange beat Louisiana Tech (2-10, 0-0 Conference USA) 8-6 in the first game of the day.
Syracuse led as much as 8-0 in the fifth inning, just three outs away from getting a run-rule victory before the Lady Techsters stormed back with six runs over the final three innings. Louisiana Tech cut into the deficit thanks to three hits and four walks in the last three innings against Syracuse starter Kaia Oliver, but after the lead shrunk to 8-5, Syracuse brought ace pitcher Alexa Romero in from the bullpen to earn the save in relief. Romero struck out each of the two batters she faced.
In game two, Princeton (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) beat Syracuse in a back-and-forth affair 6-4. The deciding factor was the accumulation of little mistakes that snowballed and cost the Orange.
After Syracuse took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, Princeton tied the game in the bottom of the first on two unearned runs thanks to a Syracuse error. After earning the save in game one, Romero got the start versus the Tigers and was great early on, allowing three hits in four innings, but made one mistake pitch in the third inning, allowing Princeton to tie the game at three on a solo home run from starting pitcher/designated player Ali Blanchard. Syracuse then retook the lead 4-3, but that lead also didn’t hold as Romero walked two batters in the fifth inning, which allowed Princeton to get the game-tying run on a fielder’s choice. All of these little mistakes led to one timely hit by Tigers sophomore Madison Hamilton who delivered the game-winning 2-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Princeton pitcher Alexis Laudenslager earned the win in relief as she shut down Syracuse’s offense down the stretch. Laudenslager held the Orange to just one hit and one walk in the final 2 ⅓ innings after Syracuse peppered the Princeton starter Blanchard to the tune of seven baserunners over the first 4 ⅔ innings.
The star of the day for Syracuse was junior shortstop Neli Casares-Maher. She went 4-6 between the two games with a home run, a triple and a double. She also drove in three runs and scored three times while also stealing a base.
Syracuse wraps up the Houston Challenge tomorrow when they get a second chance at beating #20 Texas Tech. The Orange fell to the Red Raiders 4-3 yesterday in the first game of the Houston Challenge. First pitch in tomorrow’s game is set for 10:30 a.m.
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