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Sunday, Apr 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Syracuse Fails to Complete Comeback Against UNC

By James Groh

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse nearly clawed its way back against North Carolina, but came up one run short in extra innings. The final score was 11-10.

Alexa Romero was on the mound for Syracuse. She pitched eight innings and struck out eight but it wasn’t enough to best UNC.

The Tar Heels got on the board early in the top of the first inning with a RBI single. UNC would go on to score three more runs before Syracuse began its comeback.

In the bottom of the fifth down 4-0, the Orange’s shortstop Sammy Fernandez hit an RBI single to plate right fielder Rachel Burkhardt. In the subsequent at bat, second baseman Alicia Hansen hit her second home run of the year, a two run shot to center. Three batters later, it was designated hitter Faith Cain who tied the game with an RBI double.

Head coach Mike Bosch said he was proud with how his team fought its way back into the game.

“It was 4-4, we came back in the seventh and tied that up and we battled there at the end,” he said.

In the top of the seventh, the Tar Heels showed why it has one of the best records in the ACC. Designated hitter Kendra Lynch and pitcher Brittany Pickett each hit home runs to put the Tar Heels up 7-4.

Down by three runs, Syracuse worked its way into extra innings. Left fielder Bryce Holmgren drove in Hansen to cut the lead to two. Once again, three batters later, Cain hit a two run RBI double to tie the game.

After a scoreless eighth inning, North Carolina scored four runs in quick succession to go four ahead of Syracuse.

The Orange had a little left in its tanks to mount a comeback, but not enough to force a 10th inning. First baseman Sydney O’Hara kicked things off with a RBI triple that plated Hansen. Then center fielder Jessica Heese hit an RBI double to bring O’Hara home. The comeback ended with third baseman Hannah Dossett bringing home Heese with an RBI single.

While proud of his teams’ efforts, Bosch said that coming back so many times and not winning is a tough pill to swallow.

“It’s frustrating cause…your offense puts up a lot of numbers and honestly, I said a key of today would be how we played between the white lines and we didn’t do that,” he said.

Hansen shared the same sentiment as her coach, saying that the team needs to fix its defense in order to complete these sort of comebacks.

“We just have to clean it up a little on defense,” she said.

The Orange is now 26-17 (7-10) and the Tar Heels improve to 36-13 (14-6). Syracuse travels to Colgate on Wednesday for an evening doubleheader.