This weekend was not one of the better ones in Syracuse Softball history. Despite a pretty good showing on the offensive side of the ball, Jacksonville University and Akron proved to have luck on their side in the Orange's two losses each to both teams. As the season is young, there's still plenty of time for this team to improve, learn, and move on.
On to the recaps!
Akron 2, Syracuse 1
Syracuse's first game on Friday was their lowest of the season, and of the tournament as well. Akron got on the board in the top of the first inning on a single by short stop Chelsea Wildey, scoring second baseman Kellie Roudabush.
The Orange would answer with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning on a fielder's choice hit by Julie Wambold with Maddie Doane crossing the plate. Before that, Corinne Ozanne singled for the 100th hit of her career.
Zips third baseman Alyssa Nicholas hit a solo shot over the left field fence for the winning run in the top of the fourth.
Sidney O'Hara pitched a good game, otherwise, allowing just five hits and two runs over seven innings of work. O'Hara also had only one walk and had six strikeouts. Her Akron counterpart, Erin Seiler, gave up only one run on six hits, two walks and nine strikeouts.
It was a pitchers duel, making it very difficult for either team to get players on base and get things rolling.
Syracuse 4, Jacksonville 5 (8 innings)
The Orange played their first of two games against the host team for their second of the tournament. The game was the first that Syracuse has played to go extra innings this year. For those of you who don't know, the tiebreaker rule in college softball has a runner automatically placed at second base from the eighth inning onward.
Jacksonville got on the board first with a solo home run by second baseman Ashley Simon in the bottom of the second. They would add to their lead in the bottom of the third on a two-out three-run double by catcher Charli Bradshaw.
Syracuse would finally cross the plate in the top of the fifth inning when Sammie Fernandez reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Alyssa Dewes. Danielle Chitkowski pulled the Orange within one with a two-run homer in the top of the sixth, and Ozanne tied it with a solo shot of her own in the top of the seventh.
In extras, Syracuse was unable to bring their runner home. Luck was on the Dolphin's side as the runner advanced and scored on subsequent errors to end the game. Nothing like a walk-off error!
Bethune-Cookman 4, Syracuse 5
In game number three, Syracuse came out on top. Ozanne got the ball rolling with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, with two outs. Then, in the bottom of the third, Doane doubled Dewes home. Three batters later, Wambold hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Doane, the Orange up 3-0. The very next inning, with one out, Fernandez hit a single which scored Mary Dombrowski and Dewes, the score now 5-0.
The Wildcats finally got on the board in the top of the fifth on an error by Ozanne at third base. In the top of the sixth, right fielder Shamaria Engram hit a two-run homer to bring her team within two. After hitting a two-out triple in the top of the seventh, center fielder Mariah Davis scored on a single for Bethune-Cookman's final run. Jocelyn Cater got the next batter to strike out swinging to give the Orange the victory. O'Hara got her third win of the season, and Cater her first save.
Syracuse 6, Jacksonville 8 (8 innings)
For the second straight game, Ozanne started things off with a solo shot to put the Orange up 1-0 in the top of the first, again with two outs.
Cater was able to hold off the Dolphins until the bottom of the fourth, when third baseman Lexie Ballard was issued a one out walk on a passed ball that scored Victoria Brown. This would tie the game at 1-run apiece.
Syracuse came back with a monster of a fifth inning, scoring four runs to build a 5-1 lead. First, Doane doubled in Dewes who had walked just before. Then, Ozanne hit her second homer of the game, this time of the two-run variety. Pitcher Cater knocked in the final run of the inning on a single.
After a scoreless, and hitless, sixth inning for both teams, Jacksonville found their mojo again and scored four runs to tie the game at five runs. The Dolphins loaded the bases and Cater walked in Jackie Dipiazza. Then, short stop Danielle Baker doubled in Brooke Hardy, Courtney Smith, and Allie McCourt.
Syracuse and Jacksonville would play extra innings for the second straight time facing each other. This time around, the Orange scored the runner on second to go ahead 6-5. But, the Dolphins would tie the game again, with two outs, on a double by catcher Charli Bradshaw. First baseman Emily Sanchez hit a two-run walk-off home run to end the game.
Syracuse 3, Akron 4
In their final game of the tournament, the Orange got out to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a triple by Wambold that sent Fernandez and Doane home.
Akron would score a run of their own in their half of the inning, cutting Syracuse's small lead in half. Starting pitcher Cater and relief pitcher O'Hara kept them at bay until the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second and one out, short stop Chelsea Wildey hit a single that scored Kayla Schlosser as Wilder tried for two. The next batter, third baseman Alyssa Nicholas, also singled in a runner, the go-ahead run. Catcher McKenzi Rhodes was the third-straight batter to single in a run, putting the Zips up by two.
Fernandez led off the top of the sixth inning for the Orange with a single, and eventually scored off of a single by Wambold two batters later. The run would pull Syracuse within one of the Zips, but that would be all as the Zips held them scoreless the next inning.
Wambold went 2-2 with three RBI's for the Orange.
Akron pitcher Erin Seiler pitched a complete game. She gave up three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters.
This tournament was more of a learning experience than anything for the Orange. Every game they played in was a close contest. There's a very good chance that this team will have time to turn it around before the bulk of the ACC season begins in late March.
Syracuse heads to Cathedral City, California for the Mary Nutter Classic this coming weekend, another five-game tournament. The first game for the Orange is set for 4:00 p.m. EST this Friday, February 20th against the University of Loyola - Marymount.