Last weekend, the Syracuse Softball team traveled to Rosemot, Illinois, for the Total Sports Control Invitational, playing five games over the course of three days. The tournament was played in a Dome, though not one as big as the Carrier Dome; it was just the right size for a softball stadium with two fields. There were nine teams participating, so not every team had the opportunity to face head-to-head.
Here's a brief recap of each of Syracuse's games:
Syracuse 10, University of Illinois - Chicago 1 (5 innings)
It wouldn't take long for newcomer Maddi Doane to find her groove in the Syracuse lineup. In her first at-bat, in the leadoff spot, for the Orange, she singled to left off of UIC's Elaine Heflin. She proceeded to steal second during Sydney O'Hara's at-bat. Doane scored the first run of the game during Alyssa Dewes' at-bat after advancing to third base on a single by Danielle Chitkowski. In the bottom half of the frame, O'Hara let up a walk and nothing else. The Syracuse bats were still hot, and caught fire in the bottom of the second. It began by a single by Mary Dombrowski followed by a walk to Sammy Fernandez, another newcomer. Then, Doane hit a triple to center scoring Dombrowski and Fernandez, putting the Orange up 3-0. Corinne Ozanne hit into a fielder's choice, Doane getting thrown out at home. Back-to-back-toback singles by Riley Johnson, Dombrowski, and Fernandez put the Orange up 8-0.
The lone run for the Flames came in the bottom of the third. With one out, Mitchell singled to first base. During Peterson's at-bat, she stole second and scored on Peterson's single. O'Hara got the next two batters to hit pop ups to end the frame.
In the top of the fifth inning, Doane singled, followed by a walk by O'Hara. Ozanne advanced the runners on a sacrifice fly ball, and Julie Wambold doubled both runners home. The bottom of the fifth saw a total of 4 batters, O'Hara sealing her first victory of the season on a pop up to second base.
Doane finished with three hits on three at-bats with two RBI's, one walk, and three runs scored. O'Hara pitched her first complete game of the season, allowing only five hits, one run, one walk, and striking out four. UIC's two pitchers, Elaine Heflin and Bridget Boyle, combined to allow 10 hits, 10 runs, six walks, while striking out four.
Miami (OH) 6, Syracuse 4
The second game of the tournament for Syracuse was a little bit different. Miami (OH) got out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning, and it wasn't until the bottom half of the frame that Syracuse's offense finally truly came alive. Ozanne led off the scoring with a home run. With two outs and one on second, Johnson, pinch hitting for pitcher Jocelyn Cater, flew out to left field, but the left fielder dropped the ball, allowing Dewes to score.
In the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff single by Fernandez led to another run when Doane doubled on the next at-bat. Wambold, with two outs, singled, scoring Doane as the third baseman was unable to handle the throw from the outfield.
Wambold went 2-3 with one walk and 10 put outs. Fernandez also went 2-3, scoring one run and assisted on three plays. In her first game, Cater went six innings, letting up six runs on nine hits and three walks, while striking out nine. Lindsey Larkin saw her first action since her unfortunate injury last season, giving up one hit and one walk in her one inning of work.
For Miami (OH), center fielder Tiyona Marshall went 4-5, scoring three runs. Designated hitter Taylor Shuey, left fielder Bree Lipscomb, and first baseman Hailey Reed had one, two, and three RBI's, respectively for the Red Hawks. Edwards, their first pitcher, who lasted six innings, let up four runs, two earned, on five hits and four walks. She also finished with seven strikeouts.
Samford 6, Syracuse 5
Just like the second game, the opposing team jumped out to a substantial lead before the Orange's bats came alive. Samford scored one run in the first and four runs in the third to amount to five runs. Syracuse scored one run in the bottom of the fourth off of a single by Chitkowski, scoring Fernandez who had a leadoff walk to start the inning.
The Orange tied the game at five a-piece in the bottom of the fifth. Dombrowski led the inning off with a single up the middle and scored on a double by Doane, two batters later. Fernandez singled, advancing Doane to third base. Ozanne brought Doane home on her double. O'Hara doubled in Ozanne's pinch runner Kristina Kinsey and Fernandez before Chitkowski popped up to short stop to end the inning.
The Bulldogs came back with a run of their own in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk.
The Orange were unable to muster up any offense in the bottom half of the frame, though.
O'Hara went 2-3 with two RBI's. In the circle, she pitched three innings, giving up five runs on five hits, with two walks and one strikeout. Cater got the loss, as she let up the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh. Doane, Fernandez, and Ozanne each had an RBI for the Orange to round out the scoring.
Designated hitter Caroline Wilder and first baseman Karsin Spinks each had two RBI's for the Bulldogs. Mollie Hanson pitched a complete game giving up five runs on seven hits, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Syracuse 3, Central Michigan 2
Syracuse got back in the win column with a win against CMU in the later game of Saturday's double-header. The Orange scored their first runs of the game on a two-run home run by Ozanne in the top of the third with one out.
The Chippewas tied the game on a two-run homer by third baseman Trista Cox in the bottom of the sixth and one out.
Fernandez scored the winning run on an error by the right fielder with one out in the top of the seventh. She went 2-4 and scored two runs. Cater earned her first victory of the season, going the full seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.
Syracuse 4, Western Illinois 3
The Orange got off to a good start again with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Ozanne hit a two-run homer with one out to start things off. They extended their lead in the top of the third with a bases-loaded walk issued to Chitkowski so send Ozanne's pinch-runner, Annie Toczynski home.
The Fighting Leathernecks (yes, that is their actual nickname) got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on an error at first base. They would add to it in the next inning on a single by first baseman Teagan Walsh.
Wambold hit a solo shot into the stands in the top of the seventh to give Syracuse a 4-2 lead.
Wester Illinois answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning before O'Hara came in in relief to get the last three outs of the game.
O'Hara had a perfect game going into the bottom of the fifth, until the Leathernecks' catcher Lia Romeo hit a triple as the second batter that inning. It would be the only hit she would allow, as Cater would come in in the sixth.
Overall, it was a pretty successful first round of games for the Orange. Started and ended on a high note, with a minor hiccup in the middle. Doane and Fernandez proved that they were ready for the competition, something that head coach Leigh Ross and the rest of the coaching staff was probably happy to see.
The team travels to Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida for another three-day tournament. They'll see the likes of Akron University, Jacksonville, and Bethune-Cookman University.
Akron is coming off from the Stetson Tournament at Stetson University. The Zips went 2-3, losing two game in shutouts.
Jacksonville has lost three straight, two of them in their last two games in the USF Tournament at USF. Their latest loss came at the hands of Florida, a game in which the Gators scored 16 runs to their one.
Bethune-Cookman has lost all five of their games this year, so far, all in the Charleston Tournament.
Syracuse plays their first of two games today at 1:00 p.m. EST against Akron.