Syracuse Wins First BIG EAST Softball Championship In Program History

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - No. 5 Syracuse became the lowest seed in Championship history to win the BIG EAST Softball Championship as they defeated No. 3 Louisville 2-1 at Ulmer Stadium. It was the first time the Orange advanced to the title game. Pitcher Jenna Caira went seven strong innings for her second complete game victory of the tournament and was named Most Outstanding Player.
 
Syracuse jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Stephanie Watts reached on a hit-by-pitch and advanced to second on single by Lisaira Daniels. Lacey Kohl, who hit the go-ahead RBI single against DePaul in the semifinals, kept her hot hitting going with an RBI single to centerfield.
 
The Orange added a second run in the bottom of the second. Kelly Saco hit an infield single to short and advanced after a second infield hit by Rachel Helman. Saco made it third on a fielder's choice by Veronica Grant and scored after the throw from second sailed into the outfield. 
 
Louisville got on the board in top the third. Melissa Roth led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third after a single by Jennifer Esteban and a fielder's choice by Chelsea Bemis. Roth came in to score on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one. 
 
Tori Collins entered the game in the bottom of the third for Louisville in relief of Kristen Wadwell and allowed just one base runner over 4.0 innings pitched. Collins gave up just one hit and struck out five.
 
In spite of the stellar pitching performance by Collins, sterling defense by Syracuse and the pitching of Caira proved to be the difference down the stretch. The Cardinals got two on with one out in the top of the seventh but the Orange were able to turn a double play on a line out first and a double-up of the runner at second to end the game.
 
Syracuse will represent the BIG EAST in the NCAA Championship as the league champion and the conference's automatic qualifier. The complete NCAA field will be announced Sunday, May 16 at 10 p.m.
 
2010 BIG EAST Softball Championship Most Outstanding Player
Jenna Caira, Syracuse, P/DP
 
2010 BIG EAST Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
Jenna Caira, Syracuse, P/DP
Tori Collins, Louisville, P
Jennifer Esteban, Louisville, OF
Hallie Gibbs, Syracuse, 3B
Lacey Kohl, Syracuse, C
Stacy Kuwik, Syracuse, P/DP
Christine Lux, Notre Dame, 1B
Sadie Pitzenberger, Notre Dame, OF
Melissa Roth, Louisville, C
Kelly Saco, Syracuse, 1B
Tara Voss, DePaul, SS
Kristen Wadwell, Louisville, P
 
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