Takeaways for the Kickin’ Chicken Classic
By: Nathaniel Cunningham | @n_cunning_0
Syracuse Softball went 3-2 in the Kickin Chicken Classic in Conway, South Carolina over the weekend. Despite the Orange not quite being perfect, There is a lot to take from SU’s opening weekend.
It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog
Both of Syracuse’s losses were one-run defeats that came down to the very end. In SU’s loss to Coastal Carolina, the Chanticleers had a 5-4 lead going into the 7th. Orange outfielder Angel Jasso grounded out to start the inning but Kelly Breen was hit by a pitch and pinch run by Kate Dorazio. Then Tessa Galipeau reached via a fielding error to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Dorazio advanced to third on a wild pitch and the orange couldn’t be more primed for success, 1st and third one out.
Lalia Morelas-Alves hit a weak grounder to the left side and Dorazio got caught in the middle. She was eventually tagged out at home and SU now had runners at first and second with 2 outs. Madison Knight did everything she could to put the ball in play but a groundout to short ended the game for SU.
2 days later the Orange took on George Washington to open day 3. After a rough 3rd, 4th, and 5th inning, the Orange were down 3 in the 7th. With every sign saying SU was all but done the Orange came to life.
Olivia Pess started the inning with a leadoff single. After that Madelyn Lopez pinch-hit for Taylor Davison and provided a single of her own. Mackenzie Foster sacrifice bunted to advance the runners to second and third with one gone. Then SU’s most valuable player Angel Jasso singled to second, scoring Pess and advancing Lopez to third. It was a 2 run game with one out.
On the very next pitch, Taylor Posner singles to the left scoring Lopez and leaving Jasso on second. That means the go-ahead run was on first with just one out. However, both Vanessa Flores and Angie Ramos flew out and the Orange stranded the winning run on base for the second time that weekend.
Long Trip, Long Ball
4 different Syracuse players launched home runs this weekend. It started with Angel Jasso in SU’s 5-4 loss to Coastal Carolina. The senior opened the scoring in game 2 launching the 3-run shot to straight away center field. Despite Jasso’s efforts, SU would fall short due to Coastal Carolina hitting a home run of their own in the 5th.
In game 3, Taylor Posner homered to left field, also scoring three. At that point in the game, SU was up 7-0 so Posners’s homer just put the game out of reach. The orange would tally another 3 runners before the end of the game and secure its 2 win of the set.
Against George Washington, Payton Schemmer hit a solo shot to right field. The home run cut SU’s deficit to 3 and sparked an offensive surge for SU. The very next inning SU would bring the game to within one but would strand 2 runners on base in the Orange’s comeback attempt. Syracuse would fall to GW 6-5.
In the final game of the series, Mackenzie Foster added an insurance run and also the nail in the coffin for Campbell with a solo shot to make it 5-0 in the 4th. The Camels wouldn’t score and Syracuse got win number 3 in just as many days.
The Victorious Veteran
In game one against Bucknell, Lindsey Hendrix was given the starting nod to open the year. The senior was looking to bounce back after a rough junior campaign. Number 10 finished last season with an 8-15 record. She had a 4.30 ERA in 32 appearances while also hitting 22 batters.
Against the Bison, however, Hendrix showed why she was the starter for opening day. In 6 innings of work, the senior allowed just 3 hits, struck out 4 and walked just 2. Hendrix recorded 3, 1-2-3 innings and all contact was hit on the ground. The senior would then hand off the ball to transfer Britney Lewinski to secure SU’s first win of the season.
Hendrix wouldn’t see the field again until the finale but her time off didn’t mean she cooled down. In the second matchup against Campbell, the senior matched her performance 2 days prior. Again in 6 innings, she gave up just 3 hits, only struck out 3 this time but walked just 2.
This game wasn’t as smooth as her first was, however. In the 3rd, Hendrix had a runner on third with one out. A ground out and a pop-up ended that inning. In the 4th, Campbell had runners on first and third with 2 outs. A clutch strikeout from Hendrix avoided any harm.
The Orange Like Offense
Syracuse led all teams with 30 runs put up across the 5 games. A large part of that offense was senior Angel Jasso. The outfielder led the team with a slash line of .706/.737/1.118. Jasso also led the team in doubles, runs batted in, total bases, and stolen bases. In SU’s win over Campbell on Saturday, Jasso went 3-3 with 4 RBIs and scored 3 runs herself.
Speaking of that Campbell game, SU put up the most number of runs in a game since March of 2022. The Orange scored three or more runs in each inning, leading to a 5 inning mercy rule.
The Orange travel to Hammond, Louisiana to take part in the Southeastern Louisiana Lion Classic. Syracuse plays Maryland and Southeastern Louisiana on Friday at 2 and 4 pm. Then on Saturday SU plays Maryland and Southeast Missouri State at 11 am and 3 pm.