NOTRE DAME, Ind. – No. 6 seed St. John’s upset the two-time defending champion No. 3 Syracuse 2-1 in the third game of the 2012 BIG EAST Softball Championship at Melissa Cook Stadium on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. It was the first tournament victory for the Red Storm since the inaugural BIG EAST Championship in 1990. St. John’s will move on to play in a semifinal game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. against the winner of No. 2 seed Notre Dame and No. 7 seed Rutgers.
Defense ruled through the first four innings of the game, with neither team registering more than three hits. The Red Storm had a runner on third in the top of the second inning, but a heads-up play by Orange freshman third baseman Carey-Leigh Thomas and a strong stance by senior catcher Lacey Kohl cut a St. John's runner off at the plate.
St. John’s finally broke through in the fifth inning when sophomore Michelle Tilson was walked to start the inning. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third on a groundout. Junior Chrissy Montez hit a deep flyout to center field that scored Tilson for the first run of the game.
The Red Storm added a run to their lead in the sixth. A wild pitch with the bases loaded scored the 2012 BIG EAST Player of the Year Kacee Cox from third for what proved to be the winning run.
The Orange got a run back in the home half of the sixth inning with an RBI single up the left side by Thomas. The hit scored senior Stephanie Watts from second base to bring Syracuse to within a run, but it would not be enough for the 2010 and 2011 BIG EAST Champions.
St. John’s improves to 23-33 on the season while Syracuse falls to 40-14. Sophomore pitcher Ashley Beza (14-20) took the win in a complete game effort. Senior Jenna Caira (25-7) suffered the loss for the Orange.
The 2012 Softball Championship is an eight-team, single-elimination tournament. Results from all BIG EAST Softball Championship action can be found at the BIG EAST Championship Central page. All first and second round games will be streamed on BIGEAST.tv while the championship game will be televised live on ESPN2 on May 12 at 6 p.m.