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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2011 BIG EAST Softball Championship started today with a quarterfinal match-up between No. 3 seed Syracuse and No. 6 seed Pittsburgh as the Orange plated two runs in the seventh inning to edge the Panthers 2-1.
Pitt was the first on the board, putting up a lone run in the top of the third inning as senior Ashley Amistade bunted junior Jessica Rhodunda across the plate. The 1-0 Panther lead held until the bottom of the seventh inning when Syracuse rallied off three hits for two runs.
SU junior Jenna Caira started things off in the seventh, singling through the left side. She was then replaced on the base paths with freshman Shirley Daniels. Freshman Kealy McMullen singled to shortstop. With no outs, sophomore Veronica Grant moved the base runners over with a sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second. Singling through the left side, sophomore Lisaira Daniels batted in McMullen and Shirley Daniels to give the Orange a 2-1 win.
In the circle, Caira picked up the win, improving to 32-9 on the season, while Pitt senior Alyssa O'Connell took the loss with a 14-5 overall record. Caira posted a 1.66 ERA with two strikeouts and allowing three hits. O'Connell recorded a 2.21 ERA, giving up six hits and striking out four batters.
The 2011 Softball Championship is an eight-team, single-elimination tournament. This year's championship will be held at Ulmer Stadium on the campus of the University of Louisville. The Championship runs from May 12-14. The first round and semifinals will be streamed live on the BIG EAST's Championship Central site, while the championship game on May 14 at 5 p.m. will be televised live on ESPN2.