Syracuse Advances to BIG EAST Softball Championship Final

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - No. 3 seed Syracuse (43-11, 15-5 BIG EAST) advanced to defend its tournament title, shutting out No. 2 seed DePaul (39-13, 19-2 BIG EAST) 2-0 Friday in the first semifinal contest of the 2011 BIG EAST Softball Championship at Ulmer Stadium on the University of Louisville campus. The Orange move on to the championship game Saturday at 5 p.m., where they play the winner of the semifinal match-up between No. 1 seed Notre Dame and No. 5 seed Louisville. Earlier this season, the Irish swept SU April 10 in a doubleheader 9-2 and 4-7. The Orange closed out their regular season sweeping Louisville May 7-8 in three games 3-0, 9-5 and 5-2. Syracuse posted both runs in the first inning with help from back-to-back triples off the junior bats of Stephanie Watts and Lisaira Daniels. Senior Hallie Gibbs brought Daniels home with a single up the middle. In the circle, the 2011 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year SU senior Jenna Caira earned the win, improving to 33-9, while DPU senior Lindsey Dean picked up the loss, moving to 10-6 on the season. Caira allowed two hits and four walks, fanning seven Blue Demons for a complete game effort. Dean tossed four innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs, while striking out three batters and walking two. DePaul sophomore Bree Brown pitched two innings in relief, allowing one hit and collecting four strike outs. The 2011 Softball Championship is an eight-team, single-elimination tournament. This year's championship is being 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. 2011 BIG EAST Championship Schedule Thursday, May 12 Live on the BIG EAST's Championship Central Game 1 - No. 3 Syracuse 2, No. 6 Pittsburgh 1 Game 2 - No. 2 DePaul 5, No. 7 Rutgers 2 Game 3 - No. 1 Notre Dame 6, No. 8 Providence 4 Game 4 - No. 5 Louisville 2, No. 4 USF 0 Friday, May 13 Live on the BIG EAST's Championship Central Semifinal 1 - No. 3 Syracuse 2, No. 2 DePaul 0 Semifinal 2 - No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Louisville, 5 p.m. Saturday, May 14 Live on ESPN2 Final - No. 3 Syracuse vs. Winner Semifinal 2, 5 p.m.