Softball

AnnaMarie Gatti allows 1 hit in blowout win over North Carolina State

Zach Barlow | Asst. Photo Editor

AnnaMarie Gatti allowed one hit against Virginia Tech on Sunday in Syracuse's 13-0.

Tyler Ross sent AnnaMarie Gatti’s second pitch of the game screaming. Ross, whose 14 home runs is 18th-best in the nation, lined the ball off the left-field fence and slid into second base with a double.

“When she did that,” Gatti said, “it kind of took the wind out of me.”

But Gatti didn’t let it get to her, retired the next three batters in order and got the following 12 outs without surrendering a hit.

In five shutout innings, the sophomore threw hard, pounded the strike zone and mixed her pitches. Her complete game shutout helped the Orange (23-18, 8-9 Atlantic Coast) cruise by North Carolina State (20-26, 4-11), 13-0, in five innings Sunday at SU Softball Stadium.

“I think it was one of my best outings,” said Gatti, who earned her 10th win of the year.

After Ross’ double, Gatti forced Molly Hutchison to fly to second base. Gatti got ahead of the Wolfpack’s next batter, Meredith Burroughs, 0-2. Gatti bounced a changeup in the dirt then threw another changeup, which sat over the plate. Borroughs ripped it just foul down the right-field line.

On the next pitch, Gatti went to her drop-curve — her third consecutive off-speed pitch — and Burroughs weakly grounded it to second base. Burroughs was standing off the plate, allowing Gatti to exploit the outer-half.

“I just took advantage of what they gave me,” Gatti said.

With Ross at third and two outs in the inning, N.C. State’s fourth hitter, Hannah Sommer, dug in. On her follow through, Sommer’s bat hits her back and makes a pronounced thump. But Gatti blew pitches right by her.

To end the inning, Gatti threw a 3-2 fastball right on the outside corner to catch Sommer looking and strand Ross at third. In the next inning, Gatti did much of the same: attack. She retired the Wolfpack in order.

SU head coach Mike Bosch talked with Gatti about keeping opponent offenses quiet early in games. In her previous four starts, Gatti had allowed a combined 11 runs in the first or second innings.

Gatti only struck out three, but she got swings-and-misses all game. She only retired the Wolfpack in order one time, but got outs when she needed them. She stranded five.

The SU pitcher tossed seven innings on Saturday for the win. She sported a camouflage hat in that game and, because she pitched well, wore it again on Sunday.

Catcher Olivia Martinez, who homered in the second inning, said Gatti’s ball was diving downward. She didn’t have to move her glove much at all, whether she set up inside or outside.

More than two-thirds into the season, Bosch isn’t going to tweak Gatti’s mechanics too much, he said. The past couple of weeks he’s worked with Gatti to simply ensure she pitches with a stronger stature. He’s also had her finish stronger, which can help add some extra velocity and dip to her drop ball.

That was evidenced at the end the fourth inning, when Gatti threw a nasty drop ball under the barrel of Hannah Yeager for a strikeout.

“When (her) ball doesn’t go down,” Bosch said, “it’s flat and those balls get put in play more … it had bite today.”

An inning prior, with Alyssa Compton at-bat, on-deck batter Lana Van Dyken cheered, “Come on baby, turn on it!” Gatti blew the next pitch right by Compton for the strikeout, silencing the Wolfpack dugout.

The only real N.C. State threat came later in the inning, with Burroughs at the plate and two runners on. Gatti had just walked two batters after 3-2 counts. She grinned when her next pitch was called a ball outside.

Bosch yelled from the dugout, “Come on, you’ll get it. Come on!”

Five pitches later, Borroughs flew out to left field to end the inning.

“Putting a zero up in the first inning,” Bosch said, “it really carried on.”

 

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