Syracuse Softball Splits the Day as Big Ten/ACC Challenge Continues
By Sam Lebowitz
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
Durham, N.C. – Syracuse (3-3, 0-0 ACC) split its matchups today with Indiana (2-5, 0-0 Big Ten) and Rutgers (5-2, 0-0 Big Ten) in the second day of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
In the opening game, Syracuse ace Alexa Romero turned in a strong effort against the Hoosiers following a rough outing to Rutgers last night. Romero tossed a complete game, eight-inning victory as SU downed Indiana by a score of 3-2. The Orange had to go to extra frames for the third time in their first five games.
Romero allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out seven. The left-hander’s early-season control issues did persist as she did walk four batters. She is now 3-0 on the season despite some hiccups.
On the offensive side, Toni Martin started the scoring with a run-scoring double in the fifth. The Orange wouldn’t score again until the eighth when Paris Woods ripped a triple up the gap in right-center field. Rebecca Clyde scored on the play as she continues to be an energy source for this team. Martin would score on a fielder’s choice to give SU an insurance run.
In the bottom half, Indiana got its first two runners aboard via consecutive singles. They then advanced on a passed ball. A sacrifice fly followed, but a strong throw from Jamie Gregg kept the trailing runner anchored at second base. Romero would coax a groundout and a flyout in succession to end the game and give Syracuse a big win in the doubleheader’s opening matchup.
While strong pitching was the key story for the Orange in the first game, a lack of strong pitching was their downfall in the second.
Miranda Hearn had yet to pitch this season after being Shannon Doepking’s primary arm outside of Alexa Romero last season. She started for SU in the afternoon match against Rutgers, but things did not go well for her.
She made it through the opening inning unscathed, but could not survive a messy, seven-run Rutgers second inning. Six Scarlet Knights had hits, including a punctuating two-run missile off the bat of Katie Wingert. It was Wingert’s third home run against SU this weekend, as she homered twice last night.
SU had a 7-0 mountain to climb early, and came right back with a four-run third inning. It started when AJ Kaiser, playing catcher in this game for the first time this season, slammed her first home run of the season. The other RBIs in the frame belonged to Gregg and Gabby Teran, who drove home a pair on a single.
However, the Orange could not get any closer to the Scarlet Knights than a three-run deficit. Relief pitchers on both sides, Ashley Hitchcock for RU and freshman Catie Dobbs for SU, quieted the game down from there. Rutgers would score three in the sixth against Kaia Oliver to push the game out of reach.
Catie Dobbs was the bright spot in this game for Syracuse. Dobbs came into the game for an ineffective Hearn to make her college debut. Although she allowed Wingert’s homer as soon as she entered, Dobbs settled down and tossed a strong three-and-a-third innings. She allowed just three hits and a walk to go with those two runs. The first-year punched out three batters in her outing as well.
Syracuse will wrap things up in Durham with a weekend split if they can beat Indiana again tomorrow at 10 a.m.
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