Softball

Syracuse uses 3 pitchers for just 3rd time this season in 8-6 win over Siena

Allie Wahl | Staff Photographer

AnnaMarie Gatti started game 1 for Syracuse and got the save in game 2. For just the third time this season, SU used three pitchers.

After starting the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against Siena, AnnaMarie Gatti didn’t think she was going to pitch in the second.

Syracuse beat Siena (21-18, 6-6 Mid-American Athletic), 9-1, in the first game and then used three pitchers in an 8-6 victory over the Saints in the second. It’s just the third time this season the Orange (27-21, 9-11 Atlantic Coast) has done that.

“I was really cold and tight,” Gatti said, “But I said ‘It’s only one inning if I go in, so focus and do better.’”

Jocelyn Cater is usually SU head coach Mike Bosch’s first option in doubleheaders, starting the first game and watching the second from the dugout. On Thursday, she didn’t play in the first, which lasted only five innings and struggled as she started the second.

Cater gave up a leadoff home run to Sammy Smaldone, and followed it with three more runs allowed in as many innings.

“I know I struggled a little bit, and that’s been happening to me lately,” Cater said. “More and more people know what I throw, and at times I just have to change it up.”

After Cater registered a three-up, three-down fourth inning to keep Syracuse in the game, the Orange offense notched three runs in the bottom half of the inning to pull ahead, 7-4.

With Cater back to start the fifth, Siena leadoff hitter Jazmin Ortiz hit a shot to first base that was snagged by Andrea Bombace. With one out on the board, Bosch pulled Cater.

“It was the top of (Siena’s) lineup and they had seen me three times already,” Cater said, “So (Bosch) was just going to change it up, see how it worked.”

Bosch replaced Cater with reliever Sydney O’Hara, but the Siena lineup still did damage.

With a runner on first, O’Hara faced Alyssa Lancaster, and she made the mistake of floating a pitch inside on the lefty. The senior turned on it, sending a shot to deep right field. The ball eventually nestled in a bed of rocks nearly 30 feet from the fence, pulling the Saints within one.

“(Siena) is a decent hitting team,” Bosch said. “They have some players, top three or four in the order, that can make things happen, and they did.”

O’Hara was unfazed by the homerun, though, retiring five batters in a row over the next inning and a half to keep the Orange on top.

But in the bottom of the sixth, O’Hara rounded second base after launching a deep hit to right field. The junior stumbled in the dirt, limped back to the base and called timeout.

A trainer jogged out to second and helped O’Hara off the field, wrapping a bag of ice on her left knee in the dugout and putting her on crutches for the rest of the game.

Luckily for the Orange, Gatti had been warming up in the bullpen the inning prior, and she took to the circle in the seventh for the save. The sophomore shut the Saints down in order, catching the final Siena batter looking to end the game.

“I was already planning on bringing (Gatti) in the last inning,” Bosch said. “As a drop ball pitcher, (Gatti) is someone who would probably have groundballs, singles, versus giving up a homerun.”

Bosch’s plan worked, and the Orange escaped the midweek matchup with Siena unscathed, boasting a stat sheet that showed 17 combined runs, 23 combined hits, and three different Syracuse pitchers.

“We had to use all three (pitchers), so we used all three,” Bosch said. “We did what we had to do to get the win.”

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