The 22nd season of Syracuse Orange softball came to a close yesterday, as the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles knocked SU out of the ACC Championship in a 4-1 loss. It’s the second straight year ‘Cuse was eliminated in the conference Quarterfinals. They beat Virginia 8-2 on Wednesday to make it to this point.
The Orange managed to get on the board first, courtesy of a Madelyn Lopez RBI single in the top of the 2nd. That was one of only three Syracuse hits on the day, with the other two picked up by Kelly Breen and Ryan Starr.
FSU’s Josie Muffley answered with a solo home-run in the bottom of the 3rd, and the ‘Noles tacked on two more in the inning thanks to a two-out double by Mack Leonard.
With runners at the corners in the 5th, Leonard ripped another hit to right, driving in the insurance run from third.
Orange starter Lindsey Hendrix threw all six innings in the losing effort, allowing six hits and striking out three.
SU ends the year with a 24-26-1 record (8-16-1 against ACC opponents), marking the third time in five seasons the program has finished below .500. The Orange were the youngest team in the conference, showing promising flashes of a better tomorrow, but most of the roster lacked the experience to get them far this season.
The main area to address in the offseason is the severe lack of pitching depth. Hendrix and Madison Knight are a good 1-2 punch, but there needs to be a third arm in the conversation. The duo combined for 282.1 of the 330.2 innings pitched by the entire team - that’s not sustainable.
The team was also near or at the bottom of the conference in HRs (29), RBIs (181), and walks (108), but part of that is due to the shorter-than-average schedule.
Still, Syracuse again succeeded in taking their inherent disadvantage (spending the first two months of the season on the road) and turning it in their favor, riding a late season surge to even qualify for the ACC Championship. They played just 11 home games and still made the postseason; that deserves some credit.
We’ll keep an eye on the incoming class and any other updates ahead of 2024. Until then, congratulations to SU Softball on another successful season.