Offense Will Be Key Against Hot Duke Blue Devils Team
By Spencer Pierce
CitrusTV’s Softball Beat Reporter
After an unexpected week off, the Syracuse Orange softball team was back in action as they played in the Green and White Classic, where they faced off against UNC Charlotte and Campbell University.
Syracuse ultimately won the series against Charlotte but dropped the game to Campbell, leaving them with a 2-2 record and 6-5 on the season.
Offensively, the Orange were all over the place, as they had two games where they only scored two runs, and then had two games where they scored five and six runs. A player that has continued to impress has been Paris Woods, who through 9 games is leading the team in batting average at .313. Though she has half as many at bats as many of her teammates, her ability to put the ball in play and get on base has been huge for Shannon Doepking’s team.
Another player who has continued her success, not only from this year but from past seasons as well, has been Neli Casares-Maher. After struggling at the start of the season, Casares-Maher has posted at least one hit in the last six contests. She also leads the team in OPS, which is a combination of slugging percentage and on base percentage. Casares-Maher and Toni Martin are the only members of the team with OPS above .900.
Though the team sits at one game above .500, it is hard to deny that there has been some bad offense throughout the course of the season. Yes, insurance runs are an issue, but it goes deeper than that. The team has a combined batting average of .218, and an on base percentage of .263. If this trend keeps up for the Orange, it will be incredibly hard for them to win games, especially with a strong ACC.
Syracuse’s next opponent will be Duke. The good news? Duke lost to Notre Dame, who Syracuse beat. The bad news? That’s Duke’s only loss of the season, as they’re 20-1 and ranked #14 in the nation.
For the Orange to win or even split this four game series, they will need to figure out a way to get their offense kickstarted and ready for a dominant opponent. Duke has been playing since February 12th, so they are almost mid season by the time Friday comes around. For the Orange, they have not been so fortunate, as they’re only 11 games in.
All four games will be on the ACC Network, starting on Friday at 5 p.m.
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