Leigh Ross was happy with her team’s approach at the plate from the first pitch at Rutgers on Saturday. But even after a four-run first inning, the SU softball head coach didn’t think it would be a record-setting day.‘All I knew was that the girls were really hitting the ball hard,’ Ross said in a phone interview Sunday.Syracuse (24-5, 3-0 Big East) earned a three-game sweep of Rutgers (10-18, 0-3) over the weekend, highlighted by a 23-0 win in the opener. After the best start in program history in nonconference play, SU started off its Big East slate with a bang. The Orange won 5-2 in its second game Saturday and finished the series with a 10-2 win Sunday.The 23 runs and 19 hits in the first game set single-game program records. This year’s team also set the previous record when it scored 15 runs against Gardner-Webb on March 5.SU hit five home runs in the game to power the team to victory. Senior Hallie Gibbs went 3-for-5 with seven RBI and two home runs to lead the Orange offensively. Freshman Jasmine Watson drove in five runs on three hits, including a home run. Juniors Stephanie Watts and Kelly Saco also hit home runs in the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe offensive outburst, which included two seven-run innings, came in support of Jenna Caira and Stacy Kuwik on the mound. The pair combined for a no-hitter that saw just two Rutgers batters reach base.The domination continued in the second game, when SU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. After three scoreless innings, Saco hit a two-run home run to center field to put the game out of reach. Rutgers scored two runs in the final three innings, but never threatened.Saco, who hit a home run in each game, said she saw the ball well all weekend. She just let the ball come to her and didn’t rush her swing.‘It felt good to come up to bat and finally feel a little more confident and a little more relaxed,’ Saco said. ‘Not be a little too antsy like I felt like I had been.’The entire lineup stepped to the plate with confidence throughout the weekend. In the final game, Syracuse scored 10 runs for another mercy-rule win.After SU fell behind 1-0 through two innings, it answered with a decisive four-run third inning. Watts and junior Lacey Kohl each hit solo shots to take the lead, and Saco followed with a two-run shot. The Orange scored six runs in the sixth inning to end the game.Caira earned all three wins on the weekend.Ross was pleased with the dominant conference start. With a tougher test against South Florida (19-15, 1-0) coming up, the Orange knew it needed to handle a struggling Rutgers team that has now lost 10 straight.‘Every weekend in Big East play is an important weekend,’ Ross said. ‘It’s really tough to sweep a team, so this was a great start for us.’After the weekend series, Saco is confident her team will continue to roll early in conference play.‘We should be able to take care of our business as long as we play our game,’ Saco said of the upcoming series against USF. ‘Just stay calm if things start to go their way.’firstname.lastname@example.org Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: email@example.com
Then the holders were drawn to face Bradford or Reading in the last-four.That means the other tie will pitch Aston Villa against either Liverpool or Blackburn. All in all it was a pretty good night for Arsenal in the FA Cup.Danny Welbeck scored the winner against his old club Manchester United in a 2-1 quarter-final victory at Old Trafford.United had Angel di Maria sent off for pushing the referee in the second half.