Syracuse’s offense stifled in two losses to Duke

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ After Gianna Carideo fouled off three pitches, ran a full-count and eventually earned a walk, Syracuse’s offense had one of its few positives.Carideo’s walk meant the Orange had the lead-off runner on, down by just one run in the bottom of the seventh. But in the Orange’s next three at-bats, nothing materialized. Jessica Skladal struck out on four pitches, Gabby Teran flew out to left and Bryce Holmgren dribbled the final out to the pitcher’s circle.In two games against the Blue Devils, SU couldn’t adjust. It couldn’t catch up to the Duke pitchers’ fastballs, and couldn’t wait long enough to sit back and hit changeups. All weekend, the season-long inconsistencies of the Orange (18-22, 7-8 Atlantic Coast) lineup left them unable to string together hits and drive-in runs. Duke (23-23, 10-8) took both games of the Saturday afternoon doubleheader, 5-1 and 3-2.“Our offense was terrible, I don’t think we showed very much fight today, our at-bats were very complacent,” SU head coach Shannon Doepking said. “We had no fight, we had no fire.”Entering the weekend, Syracuse’s offense was hitting better than it had at any point last season. With eight wins in their last 10, the Orange’s offensive output was nearly 2.5 runs per game higher than it was in 2018. SU had followed Doepking’s hitting philosophy: be aggressive early in counts, swing more for power than contact and adjust from one at-bat to the next.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter Holmgren grounded out to first in the opening inning of game two, she jogged back toward the SU dugout, first stopping to whisper a message in Alicia Hansen and AJ Kaiser’s ears, the next two hitters in the lineup. She tried to give them a tip about the pitcher’s tendencies she noticed.The Orange didn’t communicate enough, though, Doepking and senior Hannah Dossett said. The Duke pitching staff, led by Peyton St. George’s complete-game shutout in game one and a trio of pitchers in game two, kept SU hitters off balanced. For the weekend, St. George threw 15 innings, allowing just two earned runs in three appearances.SU typically celebrates frequently in the dugout, on the field and in the circle. But other than the dugout rendition of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and the typical cheers for each hitter, Teran and Doepking said the dugout energy was down. She said it translated into their at-bats too.“I didn’t like anything about our approach. You should never see a pitcher that many times and not be able to hit them it’s crazy,” Doepking said. “I think we’ve got to get outside of ourselves and take it one pitch at a time.”Syracuse tried to move back in the box and wait on the changeup. On Friday, it worked enough to put up one four-run inning and ride a dominant Alexa Romero to victory. But in game one on Saturday, the pressure continued to mount on Romero with each passing inning. Eventually, a two-out rally and three consecutive Duke hits in the gaps broke open a five-run sixth inning and a four-run lead. In the sixth and seventh innings of game one, the Orange got a runner on each time, but failed to cut into the deficit.“Our pitchers put us in a really good position today, and we just couldn’t string the hits together,” Dossett said. “I think Duke did a good job of that and we just couldn’t like we had in the past.”SU’s inept offense spoiled strong pitching performances from Romero, Miranda Hearn and Peyton Schnackenberg. Hearn pitched two innings in relief, allowing just one unearned run. Schnackenberg started game two and completed 4.1 innings, allowing two earned on back-to-back extra-base hits in the second.Syracuse fought back in game two, tying it in the third on a two-run Hansen triple in the gap in right field. Teran scored easily from second, and Holmgren ran into the catcher despite being beaten on the throw, knocking the ball out of her glove, ruling her safe.A two-out Blue Devils’ single and double thereafter brought in the winning run in the sixth inning. Syracuse had a base runner in its last two innings, but squandered both.After the two losses, Doepking met with the entire team in left field for about 15 minutes. Once half the team dispersed, though, a few remained. Logan Paul, Toni Martin, Romero, Holmgren, Teran, the coaching staff and a few others spoke for more than 20 minutes.“Offensively, we need to get back to where we were,” Teran said. “We need to move runners, get productive outs.” Comments Published on April 13, 2019 at 8:07 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected]last_img read more