What’s Next for SU Softball?
By Anthony Vasquez
CitrusTV’s Softball Beat Reporter
Syracuse came into the season with questions galore on both sides of the ball. Its lineup was solidified by veterans but questions about their production was warranted.
Couple that with a rebuilt pitching staff and some new facing on the coaching staff and you get a mind numbing game of 20 questions.
This past weekend, the Orange answered a lot of those inquiries with clutch offensive breakouts and timely pitching.
Not only did SU sweep a five game stretch in the Battle of the Bayou, but it also looked good doing it. A plus 42 run differential and a team batting average of .400 says all you need to know about what happened in Monroe.
There was a Syracuse Softball first, a 22-0 blowout against Southern, and an 8 run top of the seventh to shock SIU Edwardsville.
If Angel Jasso hadn’t already solidified herself as a stalwart in a lineup that was desperately searching for one, then her torrid weekend down south answered any remaining questions.
Not only was she the first SU woman to ever hit for the cycle, Jasso also slashed .588/.571/1.059.
Her numbers jump off the page even more when you consider her perfect 5-5 tally swiping bags and the 8 RBIs slugged. That stat line alone would have been enough to earn her performer of the week honors on On TheBench, but another teammate stepped up even more.
Neli Casares-Maher went 9-18 with three homers, 11 RBIs, and a mind-blowing .591 OBP.
But, it wouldn’t have been quite the onslaught showcased at the Ouachita Sportsplex without more players chipping in.
Freshman Tessa Galipeau hit .583 with a 1.762 OPS in just 12 ABs. Combine those numbers with her nine walks to just three strikeouts and you’re looking at a hidden gem uncovered by Doepking.
The list can go on and on about who stepped up, but the Orange showing it can build a lead while also having the toughness to comeback when times look bleak is quite promising.
Now, the competition may have been lackluster, but the confidence Doepking’s offense has going into next week’s tournament should have her staff excited.
Five different players launched homers and ten recorded at least one RBI.
The ‘Cuse collectively notched a surprising .401/.500/.657 statline and grinded its way to 60 runs and a 90% stolen bag clip. It’s important to note these stats will probably be reverted to normal by the softball gods, but the performance has Skytop Stadium buzzing.
What wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders was a pitching staff that left a little to be desired. Its 3.50 ERA and 1.16 WHIP is fantastic, but it’s fair to expect more against easier competition.
Ariana Adams dazzled by showing flashes of the ace that she’s been expected to be, but the next two games were a different story. Adams leaves Louisiana with a 5.40 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and six hits in 11.2 innings.
Opponents are only hitting .146 off the fifth year graduate student which shows ERA doesn’t quite tell the whole story. What was telling her lack of command inside the circle.
A large amount of her seven walks and two hit batters ended up touching home plate, worsening an already struggling ERA. Being the veteran she is, there shouldn’t be a doubt a turnaround is around the corner.
All of these blowouts also allowed a couple younger arms to pitch in meaningful action. Summer Cark didn’t look like her old self at all as she wowed with a 1.70 ERA and a .130 BAA. Clark also took the win in three of the five games.
Eight more innings were eaten up by sophomore Lindsey Hendrix who also nabbed a sleek win against Morehead St.
Even though the sample size was eight innings and two relief appearances, it still showed Hendrix may be ready to fill the void of being a number two starter.
SU also flashed the leather by recording sure outs at a more than respectable 94% clip.
What lies ahead for the ‘Cuse is a Texas sized battle in the Tarleton Softball Invitational. Texas A&M CC and Tarleton State step up to the plate first while Prairie View A&M, Alabama State wait on deck respectively.
Five more matchups and two more doubleheaders await a red hot squad who will likely be favored to win every game.
Despite the competition being filled with cupcakes, these games provide repetitive reps for younger players being ushered into prominent roles.
The true test will come later in February against Auburn and early March against ACC opponents. Until then, enjoy the show because Syracuse is looking to answer even more questions over the coming weekends.