Softball

Syracuse offense scores runs in multiple ways against Niagara

Courtesy of SU Athletics

SU ranks third nationally in batting average and on base percentage, but patience proved to be a major key on Tuesday night.

Faith Cain watched as the ball soared toward the outfield. As it began to drop, she sprinted toward second base. She made a hard turn around the bag and stopped in her tracks.  Confused, she looked back to see the umpire spinning his finger around in a circle.  She hit a home run and had not known it.

“It doesn’t matter how you score the run,” Cain said. “Just do what you need to do.”

Syracuse (25-16, 6-9 Atlantic Coast) scored in a variety of different ways on Tuesday against Niagara (12-18, 3-5 Metro Atlantic) in its 7-0 win. After losing 7-6 in the first game, the Orange took advantage late in the second game when the Niagara defense was less settled. SU tacked on some late runs to sweeten the score and give a cushion to propel the Orange to victory. SU ranks third in the ACC in batting average and on-base percentage, but patience proved to be a major key on Tuesday night.

“Seize the opportunity,” said catcher Olivia Martinez, who had a game-high two walks. “We have to put ourselves in a position to succeed when someone else is doing something wrong.”

In the sixth, SU scored four of its seven runs in the game. The first run, coming from Alyssa Dewes, was scored on a shallow pop up just out of the Niagara shortstop’s reach. The next, scored on a base hit by junior shortstop Sammy Fernandez, followed a slow reaction toward a playable ground ball by Niagara’s shortstop.

With the bases loaded, the hitting stopped, but the runs did not. The next two batters for Syracuse saw a total of eight balls out of the zone. Two walks, two runs and suddenly the Orange had a seven-run lead.

“We stayed within out strike zone,” SU head coach Mike Bosch said. “We’ll take what we can get. If it’s walks, we’ll take walk RBIs.”

Pitch recognition and focus on swinging at the right pitches has been a focus for the Orange.  SU does not often earn runs by way of the home run like they did in the second inning of the ball game. Syracuse has hit only 25 home runs on the year, which ranks eighth in its conference. Still, this puts SU far behind the first place North Carolina Tar Heels (48).

Syracuse capitalized in the game Tuesday by picking spots on the field. Hitting the ball to the right places could seem random, but it’s a skill that is useful for the efficient-hitting Orange.

“Our goal whenever we come up to bat is to make contact, to put the ball in play,” Cain said. “Our goal is just to hit base hits. We just have to see the ball.”

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