Syracuse punches ACC tournament ticket on Angel Jasso’s walk-off shot

Syracuse sweeps UNC to clinch ACC tournament berth

Lindsey Hendrix's arm and Neli Casares-Maher's bat also helped propel the Orange in a season-saving sweep of the Tar Heels.
Published: May 9, 2022 | Updated: May 11th, 2022 at 11:42 am
Syracuse win 1-0 against Duke at the Skytop Softball Stadium in Syracuse, NY on Saturday, April 23, 2022. (Photo by Jamey Bulloch)

Outfielder Angel Jasso stepped to the plate knowing that if the Orange could score one more run, they would move on to the ACC tournament.

The sophomore star fouled off the first pitch down the third baseline. Jasso then sent the second pitch out of play — this time over the center field fence, and the Orange walked off to Pittsburgh, where they’ll play in the conference championships.

“I am just proud of these guys,” Syracuse coach Shannon Doepking said. “I think it shows the heart and the character of this team. We just don’t want our season to be over. I think we really do love each other and they are just fighting for each other, to have one more day with each other. I mean to sweep the way we did, unbelievable.”

Going into this weekend’s series with the Tar Heels, the Orange knew they might need a sweep to continue their season. And sweep them they did, winning 3-1 on Friday, 6-2 on Saturday, and 9-1 in a run-rule victory on Sunday.

“I think when you get into moments like this, big players step up in big moments,” said Doepking. “We needed our big players to be big and our big players were really big for us this weekend.”

Riding the hot arm of Lindsey Hendrix, the Orange’s stellar pitching held North Carolina to just four runs on the weekend. Hendrix pitched a complete game on Friday and allowed one unearned run while striking out five. She came back out and delivered 5.1 innings on Saturday, conceding four hits and two earned runs. After Ariana Adams pitched three innings of one-run ball on Sunday, Hendrix returned to finish what she started. 

“We like the lefty-on-lefty matchup, we knew that they had a ton of lefties in the lineup,” Doepking said. “So I think that that was the best matchup that I thought we were going to be able to get. Lindsey threw a gem. Lindsey really did a nice job holding us in it.”

Before this series, Hendrix had never thrown 125 pitches in a three-game span, not even in high school or travel ball. But with her team’s season on the line, she slung 197 pitches across 15.1 of SU’s 20 defensive innings.

The offense also showed up for this series against North Carolina. Jasso had five hits during the weekend, including a game-tying home run in Friday’s game. Before her walk-off on Sunday, she belted a three-run triple during the Orange’s third inning surge.

Neli Casares-Maher capped off her final series at Skytop in style. She launched the game-winning home run on Friday, and totaled five hits, six RBIs, and two home runs on the weekend.

“I think a lot of hitting is timing and we worked a lot of timing this week, a lot of barrel control,” Paris Woods said on her team’s power surge. “As long as we get barrel, the ball will go.”

The Orange season rolls on into the ACC tournament. They will play Louisville at 1 p.m. on May 11 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Top-seeded Virginia Tech awaits the winner on Thursday.