Offensive Collapse Costs Orange Doubleheader, Series With Duke
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
Two weeks ago, the Syracuse Orange offense was a juggernaut. The team discovered a newfound spark when they took their home field for the first time, averaging over eight runs a game over five contests at the Skytop Softball Stadium.
Then Syracuse (18-22, 7-8 Atlantic Coast) went down to Raleigh, and the offense appeared to take a step back, averaging only four runs a game in North Carolina.
Apparently, that was far from an aberration, as Syracuse’s offense officially vanished again in today’s doubleheader with Duke (23-23, 10-8 Atlantic Coast).
Alexa Romero managed to hide the offensive woes in a 4-0 shutout of the Blue Devils yesterday, but she couldn’t repeat the magic, taking the loss in both games, first as a starter in the 5-1 loss in game one, then giving up the go-ahead run in relief in the 3-2 defeat in the late game.
“The offense wasn’t there this weekend,” said Romero. “Some days are like that.”
Peyton St. George led the Duke pitching staff, throwing a complete game for the win in game one and coming back to close out game two.
Syracuse did manage 11 hits in the doubleheader but stranded 12 runners on base between the two contests.
“We just need to be better with runners on base,” said Gabby Teran, who had four of the 11 hits on the day. “Keep it simple, just try to move runners, have productive outs, just put the ball in play make something happen.”
Syracuse put plenty of balls in play, as only 11 of the 42 outs recorded where strikeouts, but only twice did a batter manage to drive in a run. Bryce Holmgren’s RBI single came on the second at-bat of game one for the Orange and would produce the only run of the game. Alicia Hansen drove in both runs SU scored in game two on her two-run double in the third.
Hannah Dossett, playing in her first game since March 17th, pointed out the problem with Syracuse’s inconsistency at the plate.
“We just couldn’t really string the hits together,” said Dossett. “I think Duke did a really good job of that today and we just weren’t able to do it like we have in the past.”
Ultimately, softball is a game of adjustments, switching tactics to deal with adversity, and Dossett felt the team struggled to make the necessary changes today.
“We had to make a lot of adjustments on where we stood in the box and laying off some of their pitches they were really killing us on,” said Dossett. “I don’t think we really did well with those adjustments and I think we’re really gonna have to learn from that in the future.
Head Coach Shannon Doepking put it most bluntly: “I think our offense was terrible.”
Doepking also pointed out that the team simply appeared to have come up short in the aggression department.
“I don’t think we showed very much fight today,” said Doepking. “I think our at-bats were very complacent. I thought we were not intentional in putting up any kind of fight, we had no fire. I’m not really sure where that comes from to be honest, because there’s been a lot of games where we have shown that fight, and for some reason it wasn’t there today.”
It has been a tale of two different teams, one explosive and one not, this season for the Orange, and Doepking questioned that difference.
“Why are we so inconsistent as a team?” asked Doepking. “Why sometimes do we get the team that shows up, and we scratch, and we claw, and we throw punches, and then you get this team that kind of just hangs back and just takes the blows and at no point do we ever respond.”
The next chance for Syracuse to rectify its Jekyll and Hyde act will come on Wednesday, when the team takes an hour ride east to Hamilton to play upstate rivals Colgate (17-20, 3-5 Patriot League) at 4:00 p.m.