Syracuse Wins Second-Straight BIG EAST Softball Championship Title

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - No. 3 seed Syracuse (44-11, 15-5 BIG EAST) defended its tournament title today, beating No. 5 seed Louisville 1-0 for the 2011 BIG EAST Softball Championship at Ulmer Stadium on the University of Louisville campus. The lone run of the day came in the top of the third inning as Syracuse junior Kelly Saco reached on a double to left field. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Morgan Nandin moved Saco to third and a single to center field from junior Stephanie Watts plated the run. This marked the third-straight BIG EAST Championship title game to be decided by one run and the sixth in the last seven seasons. The 2011 edition of the tournament was similar to last year's as then-No. 5 seeded Syracuse defeated then-No. 3 seeded Louisville 2-1. With only one run scored, today's championship final was all about the pitching from SU junior Jenna Caira and UofL junior Tori Collins. The BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year improved to 34-9 on the year, tossing her third complete game of the tournament. Caira allowed six hits today, while walking three Cardinal batters and fanning four. During the awards ceremony after the contest, she was named Most Outstanding Player for the tournament for the second consecutive year. In this year's conference championship, the righty gave up 11 hits and just one run, picking up all three wins, including two shutouts and striking out 12 batters over 21 innings of work. In the circle for the Cardinals, Collins slipped to 16-10 on the season. She allowed five hits and one run, while walking two Orange batters and sitting down nine. She struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth inning. Syracuse earns the BIG EAST's automatic berth to the NCAA Softball Championship with regionals starting May 22. The other BIG EAST teams await a bid to the 64 team tournament. The NCAA Softball Championship selection show is schedule for Sunday night at 10 p.m. on ESPNU. 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. 5 Louisville 6, No. 1 Notre Dame 0 Saturday, May 14 Live on ESPN2 Final - No. 3 Syracuse 1, No. 5 Louisville 0 BIG EAST Championship Awards Most Outstanding Player Jenna Caira, Syracuse, RHP All-Tournament Team Justine Stratton, Providence, SS Lynsey Ciezki, DePaul, 3B Sadie Pitzenberger, Notre Dame, RF Jenna Caira, Syracuse, RHP Tori Collins, Louisville, LHP Lisaira Daniels, Syracuse, RF Colby Wherry, Louisville, SS Kelly Saco, Syracuse, 1B Chelsea Bemis, Louisville, 3B Stephanie Watts, Syracuse, 2B Maggie Ruckenbrod, Louisville, C Morgan Nandin, Syracuse, SS