Syracuse makes 7th-inning comeback but loses to Binghamton, 2-1, on walk-off double
Zach Barlow | Asst. Photo Editor
VESTAL, N.Y. — Corinne Ozanne threw her glove into the dugout as she walked away from first base. Rachel Burkhardt, who had held a smile just 10 minutes prior, looked around at her teammates with a blank face as she slowly walked in from right field. Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch stood watching his team shake hands with Binghamton, slowly making his way to the back of the line himself.
As Carrie Maniccia sprinted home moments earlier, players spilled onto the field from the dugout. This time, unlike a half-inning prior, it wasn’t from Syracuse’s.
The Bearcat players celebrated, having just set the record for most Division I wins in a season in Binghamton softball history (31) with the walk-off win.
Syracuse (27-25, 9-14 Atlantic Coast) eventually lost to Binghamton (31-13, 12-3 American East), 2-1, Tuesday at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The Orange was unable to muster momentum from Burkhardt’s home run and allowed a walk-off double from Jessica Rutherford to end the game just a half-inning later in the bottom of the seventh. With the loss, SU will ride a four-game losing streak into the ACC tournament, which is set to begin on May 12.
“They didn’t put any pressure on themselves going into that last inning,” Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell said of her players. “I think they just trusted each other and stayed relaxed.”
In the top of the seventh, Rachel Burkhardt represented one of Syracuse’s last chances to score a run. The Orange trailed by one and only had two hits to that point. Two outs separated the Orange from being shut out.
Burkhardt dug into the right hand box, drilling the first pitch of the at-bat to deep left-center field. The ball carried over the net protecting Vestal Parkway and nestled against the small plastic fence bordering the freeway, where it still sat an hour after the game ended.
“That was a big hit. That’s a big motivator, to get a big home run,” Bosch said. “We gave ourselves the opportunity to at least compete and win.”
And while Burkhardt’s home run gave SU an opportunity late in the game, the Orange failed to fully capitalize.
The home run was just Burkhardt’s second of the season, and her only hit of the game. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Orange had shifted the momentum after a lackluster first six innings.
But Burrell said the Bearcats weren’t worried even as AnnaMarie Gatti headed back to the mound after allowing no runs in five innings of relief work.
On her way, Gatti stopped to talk to Bosch. As the two parted ways, Gatti began to limp toward the circle, picking up the ball from the ground and beginning her warmup.
After surrendering a single to Maniccia, Gatti was removed from the game and Jocelyn Cater re-entered after not pitching since the first inning.
“(Gatti) had tweaked her foot, she limped out there a little bit,” Bosch said. “That’s not really a risk I was wanting to take in that situation.”
Cater struck out the first hitter she faced, but a sacrifice bunt by Stephanie Bielec put Maniccia on second base with two outs.
With the game on the line, Jessica Rutherford stepped into the batter’s box as Cater went into her windup. Rutherford drilled Cater’s pitch to the centerfield wall, over the head of Orange outfielder Maddi Doane, driving in the winning run.
“I thought they did a really good job trusting each other,” Burrell said. “(Bielec) had a nice bunt to move (Maniccia) over, and (Rutherford) came through with a big hit.”
The game had come full circle for Binghamton — the Bearcats scored runs in the first inning and the last.
“At the end of the day if you think you’ve competed, played hard,” Bosch said, “then win or lose at least you can go home and feel that way.”
But, as important as it is to Bosch, competing and playing hard just wasn’t good enough for the Orange to get the win.
Published on May 3, 2016 at 10:08 pm
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