SOE congratulates outstanding physical education majors
Jenna Caira became the first player in BIG EAST history to record 1,000 career strikeouts and the Syracuse University softball team (38-12, 15-4) rallied to defeat Connecticut (21-26, 9-13) by a score of 4-3 in 10 innings at Burrill Family Field.
Caira entered the game with 998 strikeouts and reached the milestone in the bottom of the second inning when she got Marissa Guches out looking. She finished the day with five strikeouts in four innings of work.
“Jenna is the greatest pitcher to ever come through SU and the BIG EAST. She is a world class pitcher and I am happy for her,” head coach Leigh Ross said. “I think she was feeling a little bit of pressure today and UConn came out hot, but Kuwik came in and pitched great. She pitched great all weekend and it is awesome to be able to throw two players out there like that.”
For the third time during conference play this season, Syracuse hit a home run in the top of the seventh inning to force extras. Lisaira Daniels provided the heroics this time with a one-out solo shot to center field which tied the game at three.
Stephanie Watts led of the 10th inning with her 12th career triple and was eventually singled home by freshman Julie Wambold for the game-winning run. Syracuse is now 5-0 in extra-inning games this year.
“Today we used 16 players to win. Yesterday we used 18 players in the two games. It is nice to know that we have that option,” Ross stated. “A lot of kids are getting opportunities and they are getting it done. Our depth shined through this weekend.”
Connecticut gained a 3-0 lead by scoring one run in each of the first three innings. The Huskie bats were alive as they had four of their nine hits in the first, but Caira limited the damage by getting a bases loaded groundout to end the frame.
The Orange fought back with two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Watts led off with a single, which Jasmine Watson followed with her second-consecutive walk. Two batters later, Carey-Leigh Thomas laced a line-drive single to score Watts.
The rallied continued as pinch hitter Kelly Saco plated pinch runner Emily Thompson from second base with an RBI single. Shirley Daniels also tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the dish and UConn would cling to its 3-2 advantage.
The score remained the same until the top of the seventh when L. Daniels, who was 2-for-5 on the afternoon, hit her ninth long ball of the season.
Stacy Kuwik entered the game for Caira in the fourth inning and allowed just two hits in six innings of work. She held UConn quiet for the remainder of the game which enabled SU to complete the comeback.
The lead-off triple for Watts in the 10th now gives her sole possession of first place on the career triples list at SU. Wambold, the team leader with 32 runs batted in, roped the game-winning single and capped off the series sweep.
Caira re-entered to pitch the final inning and retired UConn in order to earn her first save of the season.
Syracuse has a non-conference doubleheader this Tuesday at Niagara before finishing the regular-season next weekend at home against No. 18 South Florida.
After winning the 3000-meter steeplechase at last weekend's Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, N.J., Syracuse senior Katie Hursey was named the Women's BIG EAST Track Athlete of the Week on Tuesday.
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This is the first honor of the season for Hursey, and second in her career. Hursey led four Orange runners with top-ten finishes in the 3000-meter steeplechase last weekend, finishing with a time of 10:16.57. She also holds the school record in the same event (10:08.44).
Hursey has already qualified for next weekend's BIG EAST Championship in Tampa, Fla. and currently holds the conference's second fastest time behind teammate Heather Stephens. Her time at Larry Ellis last weekend is currently the 17th quickest time in the nation this season.
Hursey and the Orange will be back on the track this weekend for the Penn Relays, which begin on Thursday in Philadelphia.