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Syracuse Softball: The Orange Grab Two Wins in Sunshine State

After a great weekend in Atlanta, the Orange went 2-3 in the Citrus Classic, putting their record at 6-7 on the year.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange opened up the weekend against a Fordham team that was struggling at 2-8 entering the game. On the mound for Syracuse in this one was the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week AnnaMarie Gatti (2-3). Gatti was not as dominant as she has been in the past, but after allowing her second run in top of the third inning the Orange responded with a run of their own. In the bottom of the third inning, Sydney O'Hara reached base on an error which allowed for Rachel Burhardt to score and cut the deficit to one run. Unfortunately for SU that would be where the scoring stopped, but Fordham would continue to score as they put up two more runs that were results of an error in the top of the fifth inning. Gatti finished the day throwing 4.2 innings, surrendering eight hits, four runs (two earned), and striking out four. Fordham won, 4-1.

In the second game Syracuse faced off against Morgan State, this time sending Jocelyn Cater (3-2) out to handle the pitching duties. After a stagnant offensive performance in their first game, the Orange put up runs very early. In the top of the first inning Corinne Ozanne drove in Burkhardt. Later in that inning, O'Hara grounded out to second base, but drove in Sammy Fernandez to give the Orange a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the first inning Morgan State managed to load the bases, but Cater worked out of it with minimal damage allowing just one run. After a quiet few innings, Alyssa Dewes opened up the scoring again for the Orange after tripling to left-center field and driving in Sammy Fernandez to give the Orange a 3-1 advantage. In the bottom of the fourth, Morgan State would do their best to answer back as Kimberly Fontaine took Cater deep to left field for a home run to pull Morgan State closer at 3-2. Despite their best efforts, that is where it ended for Morgan State as the Orange went on an offensive explosion from there. Syracuse would go on to score eight unanswered runs to win this one 11-2 and improve to 5-6 on the year. Ozanne had a huge game getting five hits in five tries and finishing the day with five RBIs. Dewes also had a big game getting three hits, hitting one home run and driving in three runs.

In their third game of the weekend the Orange faced off against the No. 22 UCF Knights. Thus far this season SU has faced one ranked team and lost that matchup. Syracuse once again put Cater (3-3) on the mound to try and hold off the Knights. The Orange struggled to get anything going offensively in this one as they could not manage to put up a run in this one and went on to lose this one 4-0. For Cater it was not her best outing and she pitched for 4.0 innings, allowed seven hits, four runs (three earned), walked two, and only struck out one. In relief, O'Hara continued to do what she has done all year in that role, shut down the opposition. She only threw for 2.0 innings, but she did not allow a run and struck out three.

In the next game, SU faced off against the Charlotte 49ers who were 11-1 entering this game. Gatti (2-4) was once again on the mound for the Orange in this one. Gatti allowed one run in the top of the first but then settled in for a while. Unfortunately for her, the offense once again could not get anything going in this one. The Orange were held to three hits against the 49ers. For Gatti she would surrender two more runs before being pulled for O'Hara in the sixth. For O'Hara she snapped her streak of not allowing a run in 11 innings after she gave up a run in the top of the seventh inning. After this 4-0 loss, the Orange fell to 5-7 on the season.

In the final game of the Citrus Classic the Orange played the Bryant Bulldogs. This game needed extra innings to be decided. Gatti (3-4) started this one for the Orange and she looked to be back in her groove. Although she allowed two runs, neither of those runs were earned. She would go on to pitch six innings before being replaced by Cater for the final two innings. But before she would exit this game, she would receive some run support. Heading into the top of the sixth inning the Orange were trailing 2-0, but after RBI singles from O'Hara and Ozanne, the Orange were right back in this game. In relief Cater did not allow a run in the final inning of regulation and the game would go into extra innings. In extras the Orange would threaten early by getting a runner to third base before Ozanne would bring in the runner to give the Orange the 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth inning Bryant would go on to groundout three straight times to seal the SU victory and improve their record to 6-7.

The Orange will continue their warm weather tour as they head to Los Angeles next weekend where they will play against CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge, UC Davis and UCLA in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. The Orange hope to pick up a few wins and at least get back to .500 after that.