Dinney Leads USC Upstate Over No. 23 Syracuse

March 12, 2012 at 11:01 am

Clearwater, Fla. – Lacey Dinney tossed a gem and got out of a jam in the seventh inning to lead the USC Upstate softball team to a 3-1 victory over No. 23 Syracuse Friday night in the USF Under Armour Showcase at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.

Dinney (Hannon, Ontario) tossed a complete game, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts to improve to 7-1 on the year and deliver the program’s first-ever win over a Top 25-ranked opponent.

“I thought we played good defense. Our pitching was good. The fact that they were ranked and a very good team inspired us. We didn’t cave into the pressure, which is very good for a young team. We have 12 freshmen on our team and I think we are a year away, but we continue to get better,” said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins.

Earlier in the day, Upstate fell victim to missed opportunities in dropping a 2-1 decision to Villanova. Upstate is now 19-2 on the year and will take on Penn State and Boston University tomorrow in the tournament.

“I have never seen us hit the ball so hard for an entire game in awhile. The fact they caught most of them says a lot for Villanova’s defense. We made two mental mistakes base running. Other than that, we played a good game,” said Hawkins.

In the second game of the day for Upstate, Syracuse jumped on top when Jasmine Watson singled to drive in a run and put runners on the corners with one out. However, Dinney pitched out of the jam as Syracuse took a 1-0 lead.

Upstate threatened in the second inning, putting a runner on second with one out and third with two outs. However, the Orange got Upstate to ground out to end the inning.

Syracuse threatened to add to its lead in the fifth inning, putting a runner on second with one out and third with two, but Dinney again pitched out of the jam. She got a ground out to second and a fly out to center to end the inning.

Upstate rallied for a run in the bottom of the fifth. Lewis began things with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Maddison Kieffer’s (Middleburg, Fla.) sacrifice fly to center.

Upstate took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Shellie Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) smacked a hit up the middle with one out to begin things. Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) followed with a single. Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs after the second baseman committed a fielding error trying to force Griffin at second.

Lindsay Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) then got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead and Kieffer followed with an RBI-single to give Upstate a 3-1 advantage.

After allowing a run in the first inning, Dinney settled down and limited Syracuse to very few opportunities. She did run into trouble in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. However, she got the first out when Lewis dove to record the first out on a soft liner up the middle to save a hit and run, then got a strikeout and a pop up to end the game and secure the win for the Spartans.

Kieffer was solid and led Upstate at the plate. She finished with a hit with two RBIs. Syracuse starter Stacy Kuwik pitched 1.1 innings and took the loss after allowing two unearned runs in the seventh. She fell to 2-3 on the year.

In the first game against Villanova, Upstate started to mount a scoring threat in the top of the second inning, putting runners on first and second with one out after singles from Lewis and Kelly. However, the Wildcats got out of the inning when Kieffer hammered a line drive back to the pitcher and the pitcher caught it and completed the double play at second.

Villanova made the most of its opportunity in the bottom of the inning when Molly Manning reached on an error to start the inning and scored on Amanda Marquez’s RBI-single to right center with two outs.

Upstate’s bad luck continued in the top of the third. Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third with two outs. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) lined a shot down the line at third, but Villanova third baseman Kristi Burlin was just quick enough to get a glove on it and make a snow cone catch for the third out of the inning.

Upstate put together another promising inning in the top of the fourth. Robinson started things off with a walk and Griffin reached on an error to put runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt by Lewis, Burlin made another standout play at third. Kelly slammed a line drive down the line and Burlin came up with the ball and tagged Robinson before she could get back to third for the inning-ending double play, keeping Upstate off the board.

Villanova added to the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Fujii doubled with one out and scored on Smetana’s RBI single to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.

Upstate again put runners on in the fifth inning. Kieffer started things off with a leadoff single and Settlemyre followed by reaching base after being hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Hayley Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla.) singled to drive in Kieffer, but was thrown out at second trying to advance on the play and Settlemyre was thrown out at home attempting to score on the throw down to second to get the Wildcats out of the inning with a 2-1 advantage.

Upstate could not get anything going in the sixth or seventh inning as Villanova held on for the win. Wildcat starter Caitlyn Delhaba went the distance to earn the win and improve to 5-2 on the year. Villanova improved to 8-3.

Upstate starter Hannah Alexander also went the distance, allowing two runs, one of which was unearned, on seven hits with six strikeouts. She suffered the first loss of the season and fell to 11-1. Reinfeld led the Spartans at the plate with two hits.

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