The Highest of Highs and the Lowest of Lows. Takeaways from day one of the Kickin’ Chicken Classic

Saturday, Feb 10, 2024 at 9:12 am by Sports Editor

By: Nathaniel Cunningham | @n_cunning_0

Syracuse Softball (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has not had a practice outside in the 315 this year. So when the Orange traveled to South Carolina, it was the first time SU had hit the grass this season. However, in Syracuse’s first game of the year, it looked like the Orange had been outside for months. 

Game one VS Bucknell (3-0 Victory)

Pitching Power

Syracuse started where they struggled the most a year ago; inside the circle. Lindsey Hendrix got the nod for the first game of the year and had her eyes set on bouncing back from a junior campaign that saw her finish with a 4.30 ERA. 

To start the game, Hendrix walked the first batter on 4 straight pitches and gave signs that it would be a similar struggle as it was a season ago. After that, however, the Senior couldn’t miss. Even when she would walk a batter or give up a hit, Hendrix responded with quality, well-located pitches. None of which were more important than that of the 6th inning. After five innings of just one hit softball, Hendrix gave up back-to-back singles to start the 6th. Then with a low and inside changeup, a double play was secured to finish Hendrix’s day.

Transfer student Britney Lewinski came in for the 7th. It was her first bit of action as a member of SU. The Seminole State transfer was clean, striking out one and forcing 2 ground balls. The Orange shutout a team to open the season for the first time since 2016. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

While the pitching was on point, games don’t get won unless runs are scored and everyone had their hands dipped in the win for Syracuse. The Orange got to Bucknell starter Hunter Vestal by creating a ton of hard contact, but SU couldn’t capitalize. So when the Bison went to a new pitcher, Sarah Zimmerman, Syracuse took the chance and ran with it. SU started the 3rd off with back-to-back singles from Makenzie Foster and Angel Jasso. Then after both players stole second and third respectively, clean-up hitter Tessa Galipeau hit a sacrifice fly to center, starting the scoring for the Orange. 

An inning later, Madison Knight doubled to center field followed by a double from Olivia Pess to right center and Syracuse got an insurance run. 

Finally, in the 5th, Angel Jasso tallied her second hit of the game with a double down the left field line. Kelly Breen singled to left, scoring Jasso and that was all the Orange would need to get its first win of the season. 

Game two vs Coastal Carolina (5-4 Loss)

Syracuse had an almost 4-hour wait between game 1 and game 2. 

Offensive Onslaught

Both teams started off hot. In the top of the first, the Orange loaded the bases but couldn’t capitalize. In the bottom half, the Chanticleers had 2 runners in scoring position and couldn’t make the most of it either. In the 2nd inning though, the floodgates opened. 

Two singles for SU opened the door for Angel Jasso to send just her 10th career home run to straightaway center, giving the Orange an early 3-run lead. When it was Coastal Carolina’s turn, it didn’t hit a long ball but strung together back-to-back singles, then back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 3 apiece. 

With the game all even again, Coastal Carolina had the opportunity to stop SU’s momentum. However, due to costly errors, the Orange tallied another run on a Wild Pitch. 

Syracuse held Coastal Carolina scoreless in the bottom of the 3rd but an inning later the Chanticleers got to new SU pitcher Britney Lewinski. Iyanla De Jesus launched a 2-run home run to left field giving Coastal Carolina a 1-run lead. 

So close yet so far

After the 4th it was a pitcher’s duel between Syracuse’s Britney Lewinski and Coastal Carolina’s Nicolette Picone. However, in the top of the 7th, things took a turn for the worse for the Chanticleer’s best pitcher. 

After a strikeout to start the 7th, Picone hit Kelly Breen. Then on a routine ground ball, the shortstop Brie Normandin bobbled the ball and was unable to make a play. A couple of pitches later, Picone had a passed ball allowing Kate Dorazio (who pinch ran for Breen) to advance to third.

So in a one-run game with one out the Orange had runners on first and third. Laila Morelas-Alves hit a soft ground ball to the left side that caught Dorazio in between 3rd and home, and as a result, Dorazio was tagged out. Following that, Madison Knight grounded out and just like that, the game was over. 

While the Orange went 1-1 on day one, Syracuse can get back in the win column this morning against Campbell (0-1, 0-0 Big South Conference). The first pitch is set for 10. | @n_cunning_0