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Worth the wait

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Syracuse fails to take quality at-bats in 2nd game of doubleheader

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 7, 2014 at 12:21 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman On a picturesque day at SU Softball Stadium on Sunday, Syracuse did something it hadn’t done all season. The Orange played at home. And while the situation was novel for Syracuse (13-18, 6-7 Atlantic Coast), the Orange continued a troubling trend by combining for 16 strikeouts in a doubleheader against North Carolina State (23-10, 12-4 ACC), losing 8-6 in the first game and 7-0 in the second. Strikeouts have plagued Syracuse this season, and the team is trying to cut down on them by taking quality at-bats. “We just have to keep coming back every game and working on our same approach,” said junior outfielder Mary Dombrowski, “and not giving up on the things we’ve been working on all week. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s going to get better with the more pitches you fight off and see.”Fighting off pitches and battling was a strength for Syracuse in game one against N.C. State pitcher Emily Weiman, who threw 137 pitches in a strenuous seven innings. Just 20 minutes after the final out of game one, Weiman returned to the mound again for game two and stymied SU’s offense, shutting it out in an 88-pitch complete game shutout.“I think we need to be better than that,” SU head coach Leigh Ross said. “We gave away too many at-bats.”Half of the Orange’s strikeouts in game two came on 0-2 counts, as most hitters weren’t seeing pitches as well as they did earlier in the day. Players were confused by their inability to get anything going in the second game after seeing 137 pitches in the first. In the second game, Syracuse had a hit in five of the six innings, but was unable to plate a run. The team’s approach of taking quality at-bats includes moving runners up, seeing a lot of pitches and making solid contact, among other things. The Orange didn’t do those things well, and it showed in the final score. “She mixed up pitch locations more with me in the second game,” said freshman catcher Nicole Lundstrom. “I don’t know, maybe we just weren’t seeing it the same as we did in the second game. It’s hard to figure out.”The Orange doesn’t have much time to figure things out at the plate, with only 11 ACC games left in the season — six of those against Florida State and Virginia Tech, which are ahead of SU in the standings. Weiman had trouble with the Syracuse lineup in the first game of the doubleheader, but found a groove the second time around. Julie Wambold went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs in game one, but was held hitless in game two. And Shirley Daniels, another one of the team’s top hitters, reached base and stole three bases in the first game, but didn’t reach base in Weiman’s second start of the day. Ross thinks that the solution isn’t so complicated. She said it’s about coming to the plate with the right approach, which is something she and her staff preach to the players every day, but didn’t see on Sunday. It’s an approach that is slightly more conservative, and not going to change a game with one swing of the bat. Trying to change the game in one at-bat is a mindset that can be fatal to a hitter. “If you’re trying to do too much in one at-bat,” Ross said, “you start to lose exactly what your plan is because you’re trying to think so much about trying to make things change right now.”Freshman pitcher Sydney O’Hara had praise for Weiman, appreciating her ability to intelligently pitch to hitters despite facing some of them up to bat seven times.When asked about what SU needs to do to turn around the offense moving forward, she was quick to the point.Said O’Hara: “Quality at-bats.” Commentslast_img read more