Syracuse relies on core of batting order to take down Siena, 8-6
Eddie Natal | Staff Photographer
Three pitches into the third inning, Syracuse already had a run scored. Two batters later, Hannah Dossett stepped in with two outs and a runner on base. Down 1-2 in the count, SU head coach Mike Bosch yelled, “Battle here 10!” to Dossett, who wears No. 10.
Then Siena starter Danielle Cacciola stepped back, grabbed a handful of dirt and tossed it aside. She had already given up two runs in the inning.
“When we got down 4-1, I just asked them to you know, battle and compete,” Bosch said. “And they responded with three that inning and three the next inning.”
On the next pitch, Alicia Hansen one-hopped the “ACC” sign in dead center, scoring Dossett and evening the score at four. It was the fifth hit for the Orange in the inning, the fourth which came on the first pitch of the at-bat.
That aggressive approach from the middle of the lineup propelled Syracuse (27-21, 9-11 Atlantic Coast) to an 8-6 game 2 win over Siena (21-18, 6-6 Mid Atlantic Athletic) on Thursday at SU Softball Stadium. The Orange won game 1 in five innings, 9-1.
Syracuse’s two through seven hitters combined to go 13-for-21 in the game. Out of the two hole, Rachel Burkhardt went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Sydney O’Hara went 4-for-4 with three RBI in the cleanup spot. Dossett and Hansen combined to go 5-for-7 from the six and seven holes, respectively.
“We had a lot of good at bats, a lot of line drives,” Bosch said. “Especially out of the middle of our order.”
In the fourth, SU took advantage of a throwing error by Saints catcher Sammy Smaldone. With Kelsey Johnson at second, a wild pitch to Corinne Ozanne sent the ball ricocheting off the backstop, prompting Johnson to sprint toward third.
The ball skidded right to Smaldone, who fired toward third base to try to gun down Johnson. But, with Ozanne standing as still as a statue in the box, Smaldone’s throw hit Ozanne’s bat. The ball trickled near the SU dugout and Johnson scored easily.
Two walks, a single and a sac fly later, the Orange had again put up three runs for the second consecutive inning. The three-run fourth gave SU a 7-1 lead that was just enough for Jocelyn Cater to earn the win.
In the sixth, O’Hara injured her left leg on the bases. She left the game and exited the dugout on crutches. But with four hits in game 2, O’Hara was in the thick of the Orange’s offensive explosion.
At 12:30 p.m., two and a half hours before game 1’s first pitch, SU watched film on how Siena’s pitchers attack hitters. Typically, SU will only study the conference opponents, but Bosch wanted to give his hitters an idea of what they would see in the games.
“It’s not an hour long class session,” Bosch said. “It’s 15, 20 minutes so we feel like we’re at least a little prepared of what we’re going to get.”
Siena pitchers are reliant on screwballs and curveballs to get hitters out, Bosch said. They didn’t throw many changeups nor did they change the heights of their pitches. This allowed SU hitters to look for one side of the plate on Thursday.
Hansen was one of several Orange hitters who benefited from the pregame film session. She sat on the inside pitch after assistant coach Alisa Goler told her to look for it. If it wasn’t inside, Hansen wasn’t going to swing. She also backed off the plate an inch or two so she could get her hands out quicker than she normally would.
This approach helped Syracuse dig itself out of the early hole and emerge on top after seven innings.
“When we were down 4-1, we just had to come back right after,” Hansen said, “and we did.”
Published on April 28, 2016 at 11:11 pm