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Syracuse’s top hitter Angel Jasso walked to the batter’s box with the score even at 0-0 in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Paris Woods stole second on the first pitch of the at bat. Jasso had trouble previously with Louisville pitchers, going 2-for-10 against the Cardinals, including her ground out in the first inning.
But with a 2-2 count, Jasso made contact on a ball that sailed straight to the center field fence. It bounced off the white lining at the top of the barrier for a two-run homer. Syracuse took a 2-0 lead, one it held for the rest of the game.
Syracuse (25-20, 7-15 Atlantic Coast) won its first ACC tournament game ever against Louisville (27-24, 10-14 ACC) in a 2-0 defensive battle. Just four weeks ago, the Orange got swept by the Cardinals, getting outscored 15-3 through three games. Pitcher Ariana Adams was on her way to a no hitter, but finally gave up a single to left field in the bottom of the sixth.
Cardinals’ pitcher Taylor Roby also got off to a strong start as no one reached first base until the bottom of the second. The streak broke when Syracuse third baseman Rebecca Clyde missed a routine throw to first base on a ground ball by Hannah File. But, Adams retired the side on the next at bat.
To start the third, Roby put out Olivia Pess and Clyde on just two pitches. Then, Woods hit a choppy grounder to third base and was able to beat out the throw. That’s when she stole second on Jasso’s at bat. Jasso followed that up with a rocket to center field to put the Orange up by two.
Adams’ didn’t let Louisville respond and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third. The Orange continued to threaten the Cardinals in the fourth as Kelly Breen snuck a line drive between shortstop and third base for a single.
Two at bats later, Tessa Galipeau made Cardinals shortstop Ally Alexander run after a ball in the infield. Alexander got to it, but not in time to throw anyone out at first or second. Then, Carli Campbell hit into a fielder’s choice and Pess flew out to deep right field.
Adams came back in the fourth and immediately got three straight outs. The Orange had another chance to extend the lead in the top of the fifth after Clyde walked and Jasso took a pitch to her shoulder. But Syracuse ended up leaving them stranded on the basepath before Adams put out three Cardinal batters in a row in the bottom of the inning.
Following a quiet sixth inning for Syracuse’s bats, the pressure was building for Adams to complete her no hitter. Woods saved her with a diving catch on a Vanessa Miller hit to shallow centerfield. Still, Adams lost her no hitter on a Jenna Servi poke to shallow left field, but it didn’t rattle her. She quickly put out the next two batters to end the inning.
Louisville had one more chance to keep its season alive in the bottom of the seventh. Once Roby reached first on a Neli Casares-Maher field error, head coach Shannon Doepking subbed in Kaia Oliver for Adams.
Going for her first save of the season, Oliver walked Kendall Smith to put runners on first and second. Oliver immediately put out the next three batters afterwards, including a three pitch strike out on Hannah File.
Jasso did all the work the Orange needed at the plate, with one key home run that drove in the only two runs of the game. And at the mound, Adams shined by allowing only one hit through six innings and striking out six Louisville batters.
Syracuse will advance to play Virginia Tech on Thursday at 11 a.m. The No.1-seeded Hokies swept the Orange in March, outscoring them 27-3 in three contests.
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