SB : Erratic pitching leads to upset loss for Syracuse in opening round of Big East tournament

first_imgSyracuse softball won’t three-peat as Big East champions.In the opening round of Thursday’s Big East tournament, the Orange (40-14, 17-5) could muster only one run in a 2-1 upset loss against St. John’s (22-33, 9-12).SU stranded eight runners in the loss, including the potential tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Left fielder Lisaira Daniels bunted for a single with one out to extend SU’s last inning, but was left on base when right fielder Shirley Daniels struck out and second baseman Stephanie Watts popped out to center to end the game.The loss is a disappointing one for senior catcher Lacey Kohl. SU beat the Red Storm twice in a three game series earlier this season. In those wins, the Orange scored double digit runs.But when the stakes were higher, that same Red Storm team was able to limit SU hitters to seven singles and only one run.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It’s like (hitting) coach King told us, we hit for extra bases,’ Kohl said.’We’re not going to win games with seven singles.’Especially not when ace Jenna Caira has an off day. The senior pitcher struggled to hit her spots all game and issued four walks.Caira’s costliest walk started the fifth inning. Locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel with Red Storm pitcher Ashley Beza, Caira walked leadoff hitter Michelle Tilson. Tilson reached second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a single, and scored the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly by Chrissy Montez.Stacy Kuwik replaced Caira in the sixth inning, but wild pitches still haunted SU. With the bases loaded and no one out, Red Storm catcher Kacee Cox scored from third base after Kuwik misfired.Kuwik didn’t allow a hit in the final two innings she pitched, but St. John’s was able to tack on a crucial insurance run. And in a close game against a sputtering SU offense, Kohl said that run was the difference between an SU win and an upset loss.SU now has to hope that its 40-win season will be enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The 64-team field will be announced on Sunday night at 9 p.m.Kohl said SU’s next opponent will face an Orange team with a chip on its shoulder because of the loss to the Red Storm.‘That third ring would’ve been great,’ Kohl said. ‘But we’re focused on Sunday and what happens after. They will pay for what we went through today.’nctoney@syr.edu Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on May 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: nctoney@syr.edu | @nicktoneytweetslast_img