Syracuse softball falls in 1-run loss to Louisville in ACC tournament quarterfinals

Zach Barlow | Asst. Photo Editor

Syracuse was held scoreless on Thursday in a 1-0 loss to Louisville. The Orange won't have any more games this season unless it makes the NCAA tournament.

Sammy Fernandez caught the glove-flip from Alicia Hansen, stepping on second base and skipping toward first as she threw the ball. The ball left her hand in a hurry, flying over the outstretched mitt of Corinne Ozanne and toward the Syracuse dugout.

The ball bounced off the fencing in front of the dugout and rolled away from the infield. As Ozanne chased after the ball, Louisville base runner Jessica Adell sprinted home, sliding into the plate and putting Louisville up 1-0.

It was the only error of the game for Syracuse, but it was an error that led to the only run the Cardinals would need to get the win.

Syracuse (27-26, 9-14 Atlantic Coast) lost a one-run game to Louisville (35-14, 15-8), 1-0, Thursday evening in the quarterfinals of the ACC softball tournament at Dail Softball Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. Most of the Orange’s struggles came, yet again, from a lack of offense amid strong defensive play.

AnnaMarie Gatti got the start for Syracuse, and the sophomore was consistent all evening. Gatti threw the complete game for Syracuse, allowing five hits on one strikeout and two walks in six innings of work.

The two teams were tied until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Gatti ran into trouble in the circle. She gave up two straight singles to start the inning, and with runners on first and second, Brittany Sims grounded to Hansen at second base.

Hansen grabbed the grounder and flipped it with her glove to Fernandez, who made the out at second. It was a smooth defensive play, but Fernandez rushed the throw to first base.

The ball flew over Ozanne’s head, scoring Adell from second, and putting Louisville up 1-0.

Down one with just one out on the board and a runner on second, Gatti got out of the fifth-inning jam. She went on to allow no runs in the sixth, but the damage had already been done.

The Orange defense held strong the entire game, surrendering just one run, but Syracuse’s offense couldn’t make anything happen at the plate. The Orange totaled just five hits, and left four runners on base.

Kelsey Johnson was the lone bright spot offensively in the Syracuse lineup. The sophomore has started just six games this season, but batted 2-for-3 with two singles in Thursday’s loss.

Otherwise, the Orange offense was stymied by a stellar performance on the mound from the Louisville duo of Megan Hensley and Maryssa Becker. Hensley started for the Cardinals, lasting 4 2/3 innings. She struck out two and gave up five hits, and didn’t allow any Syracuse runs.

She was relieved by Becker, who threw 2 1/3 innings for the Cardinals. Becker didn’t allow a single hit in relief, and took credit for the win.

Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch had moved Ozanne to the leadoff spot Thursday, two spots above her normal third-hole position. But Ozanne struggled, batting 0-for-3 in the loss.

Thursday’s loss marked the end of the season for the Orange, unless it receives an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament next week. College Sports Madness’ projection does not have Syracuse in the 64-team field after its loss to Louisville.

Louisville, on the other hand, is currently projected to be playing in the Lexington Regional of the tournament, barring its future in the ACC tournament.

After starting the year 1-4, the Orange finished on a similar note, losing its last five. However, at 27-26, the Orange saw its first winning season since 2012, something head coach Mike Bosch and the Orange will look to build on as the team likely enters the offseason.


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