Syracuse softball steals middle game, but drops the series to No. 11 Duke
SU steals win against no. 11 Duke, but loses series
The Syracuse Orange came into this series with their backs against the wall. They had just fallen under .500 after being swept in Louisville and now had to face their ranked rivals from Durham, NC. Though it wasn’t pretty, SU did just enough to keep its tournament hopes alive. Here are the breakdowns of each game:
Friday, April 22: Duke 5, Syracuse 0
Duke got right down to business in the series opener. After the first two batters of the game got on base, they attempted a double steal. SU catcher Laila Alves tried to nab the lead runner, but she ended up throwing the ball into the outfield, allowing the Blue Devils to take the early lead. Later in the inning, Kristina Foreman ripped a double to score another Duke run.
The Blue Devils would then go on to add a run in the 2nd, 5th and 6th innings. Meanwhile, Peyton St. George baffled SU’s lineup, picking up eight strikeouts and allowing just four hits in a complete-game shutout.
“We knew that coming in she was going to be a good pitcher,” Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking said.
The lone bright spot was Angel Jasso, who had two hits including a double.
Saturday, April 23: Syracuse 1, Duke 0
This one was a good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. In baseball terms: you’d think it was still the dead-ball era.
The Blue Devils once again had their starter dealing, as Jala Wright went six innings and struck out six batters. On the other side, Syracuse has three players combine to shut down Duke. Ariana Adams, Lindsey Hendrix, and Kaia Oliver each pitched 2.1 innings. None of them let a runner cross home.
“I think it shows a lot about who we are,” Oliver said. “It would’ve been easy to throw in the white towel since we’re a bubble team.”
The only run the Orange scored all series was an unearned one. After Paris Woods beat out a liner that deflected off Wright, she advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then Jasso grounded one up the middle and off Foreman’s glove, allowing Woods to come all the way home. The play was originally called a hit but later ruled an error on the second baseman.
It was the first time all year that Duke had been shutout. There were only a combined six hits in the game: four by the Blue Devils, two from the Orange.
Sunday, April 24: Duke 6, Syracuse 0
The rubber match felt like Duke took Saturday’s loss personally. Errors once again hurt the Orange, as Hendrix took a ball hit right back to her on the mound and overthrew first base. Claire Davidson advanced to second, and then to third on a sacrifice bunt. Francesca Frelick then layed down a perfect bunt to the left side and beat it out, scoring Davidson in the process.
Two batters later, Kamryn Jackson unloaded on a pitch and launched it over the center-field wall for her seventh home run of the year.
After her remarkable outing on Friday, St. George went back to work in the series finale, throwing four more scoreless frames. Syracuse hitters had their timings off all weekend.
“We kinda got caught in the middle of the slow and the hard (pitches) and didn’t hit anything,” Doepking said.
Three more runs crossed home in the top of the 6th. Frelick once again got a great bunt down and brought home a runner from third. She would score on a pinch-hit single by Taylor Krapf. Another infield hit made the score a half-dozen to zip.
“They’re very disciplined,” Adams said of the Duke hitters. “They didn’t swing and chase any bad pitches.”
The loss dropped Syracuse to just 4-15 in ACC play. The Orange head to Niagara to play the Purple Eagles for a 3 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday. They have one last home series this spring: three games against North Carolina May 6-8.