Another Weekend of Syracuse Softball Yields Interesting Results
By Anthony Vasquez
CitrusTV’s Softball Beat Reporter
STEPHENVILLE, Tx – As Syracuse Softball prepares for yet another midseason tournament in the South, pressing questions still remain after a 3-2 trip to Texas.
While a pair of walk off losses in as many games always stings, the offensive performance through the first three games added confusion to the pain.
Compared to the electric offensive performances in Monroe, S.U. was a complete shell of itself in Texas. Doepking’s lineup churned out just six runs and a disappointing .225 batting average through the first three games of Tarleton’s Invitational.
The metal bats ruined a couple of stellar pitching performances and barely charted enough runs to save another.
Key cogs of the lineup were unusually quiet through Saturday afternoon. Neli Casares-Maher, Angel Jasso, and Paris Woods drove in no runs and tallied just four hits in 20 at-bats.
Other important pieces of the lineup card didn’t step up either. Tessa Galipeau and Kelly Breen lacked the extra-base hits to drive in runs and runners aboard when they took their singles.
It was a rough showing for any player walking to the plate, but the power outage ended the last two games as the ‘Cuse erupted for 23 runs against Prairie View A&M and Alabama State.
SU’s light-hitting offense woke up from its slumber and mashed 24 hits – 12 of them going for extra bases. The homers struck by Galipeau, Pess, and Casares-Maher against Alabama State were the only round-trippers by any hitter over the weekend.
Despite the somewhat ugly offensive performance, panic levels should be low because of how much the lineup put the ball in play. The ‘Cuse struck out only 12% of the time, showing that a portion of the power outage can be attributed to some bad luck.
One side of the ball that didn’t need any luck at all was the pitching staff. Summer Clark was by far the MVP of the tournament with her two wins.
She opened the invitational with a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts to only one walk. After a couple of heartbreaking losses, she took the ball and threw another complete game shutout against Prairie View A&M.
Clark’s ability to not only open a series with a win but her confidence to take the ball when she was desperately needed shows she has ace potential in her career.
With her record a perfect 5-0 and an ERA sitting at just 1.11, it can be argued that she might already be the top dog in the rotation, especially with Ariana Adams’ pitching woes.
The fifth-year senior has been struggling mightily since kicking off 2022 with a shutout of her own. She’s now given up runs in her last four appearances, two of which were capped off by walk off home runs in Tarleton.
There’s no doubt Syracuse will need her to get back on track heading into conference play if it expects to compete in a three-game series. Having the ability to send two capable aces to the circle every weekend is what separates the elite from the average across the county.
Lindsey Hendrix’s lights-out performance over her two starts carried the load for a struggling Adams. The sophomore gave up one run with 16 punchouts, and no walks in 10.1 innings down in Stephenville.
Hendrix lowered her ERA down to an elite 1.91 clip ranking her second on the team behind Clark.
Adams and company will seek to get back on track in the Plainsman Invite hosted at Auburn’s Jane B. More Field.
Look for this tournament to be the perfect measuring stick for the Orange heading into ACC play. Bradley and Delaware State on Friday and Saturday will open up the tournament while the measuring stick game against Auburn closes out non-conference play.
After that, Syracuse will take a trip to Raleigh to face N.C. State over the first weekend in March.
As the snow melts away and spring sports across the college landscape commence, pressing questions about the offense and the rotation still remain.
They better get answered quickly because the melting snow and warmer weather signals another season on South Campus’ Skytop Softball Stadium is getting closer.