Syracuse softball falls short in twin-bill against Virginia Tech

Syracuse softball falls short in twin-bill against Virginia Tech

Calista Almer scores the only run between two games for the Orange as SU drops two on Saturday.
Published: May 1, 2021
Syracuse Softball vs. Virginia Tech on May 1, 2021
Syracuse's Calista Almer runs the bases during a game against Virginia Tech on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Almer was the only Orange play to score a run against the Hokies in Saturday's doubleheader.

The Syracuse softball team looked to avenge Friday’s loss to No. 20 Virginia Tech in a double-header matchup Saturday at Skytop Stadium, but the arm of Hokies pitcher Keely Rochard proved to be too much for the Orange.

Rochard started both games for Virginia Tech in which she picked up two wins, 11-1 and 3-0, respectively.

In game one of the twin-bill, Kaia Oliver started on the mound for the Orange but quickly walked three batters and gave up three runs. Jolie Gustave came in to replace her midway through the inning and the Hokies tacked on one more run to go up 4-0.

The Orange couldn’t get anything going off of Rochard, who struck out the first six batters in a row.

The third inning started off hot for Virginia Tech, as they poked two singles up the middle and Alex Milius hit an opposite field home run to increase the lead to 7-0.

Miranda Hearn came to relieve Gustave but continued to struggle as well. The Hokies scored a run off a Cameron Fagan single up the middle, and Cana Davis ripped another three-run home run into dead center field to put the Hokies up 11-0.

The Orange finally got a runner on base when Calista Almer knocked a single through the five-six hole. After the hit, Rochard was pulled from the game and replaced by Mackenzie Osborne.

Neli Casares-Maher singled to right to put runners on the corners in the bottom of the fourth inning, and a sacrifice fly from Gabby Teran scored Almer for the lone run of the game.

The Orange couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the fifth, and Virginia Tech took game one, 11-1.

Syracuse Softball vs. Virginia Tech on May 1, 2021
Freshman pitcher Jolie Gustave throws a pitch during the first of two games against Virginia Tech on Saturday, May 2, 2021.

The second game was a much different story than the first, as Alexa Romero stepped into the circle for the Orange. Through the first few innings, it was a pitchers’ duel as Rochard started on the mound for the Hokies yet again.

Romero allowed a double in the first inning but quickly tossed two straight strikeouts to end the threat.

Through the first three innings, both teams were held scoreless as the pitchers continued to battle. Jayme Bailey broke the standoff with a hit to dead center that just barely cleared the wall to put Virginia Tech on the board, 1-0.

Kelsey Bennett ripped a single past Rebecca Clyde at third to put another runner on for the Hokies and a pinch runner stole second to put herself in scoring position. Alexa Milius then singled up the middle to score then runner and put the Hokies up two.

In the bottom of the fourth, Casares-Maher drew a walk but was quickly thrown out at second on a steal attempt to end the scoring threat.

The Hokies scored another run on a Bennett opposite field home run to increase their lead, 3-0.

Angel Jasso finally broke up Rochard’s no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth with a single and Casares-Maher followed her up with a single of her own. But the Orange failed to plate a runner and still faced the three-run deficit.

The Orange made quick work of the Hokies in the top of the seventh inning. Syracuse’s Teran made a spectacular back-handed play to end the inning.

Geana Torres stepped up to the plate with two outs and singled up the middle to extend the inning, but Clyde flew out to right field to end the ballgame. Hokies won the second game, 3-0.

Syracuse Softball vs. Virginia Tech on May 1, 2021
Syracuse player attempts to catch the ball and tag out a Virginia Tech player during a game against the Hokies on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Head coach Shannon Doepking said after the games that the Orange offense has their work cut out for them.

“Obviously it was a rough day, the second game was a little bit better,” she said. “And I think where we’re at right now, I’m not sure that we believe we can stack up with a team like that, and I’m not sure we believe we can hit a pitcher like that.”

The Orange had just five hits in the two games and Doepking mentioned that they struggled to find answers for Rochard.

“If I had any answers for Keely [Rochard] you would’ve seen something today and we just did not have answers for that kid,” she said. “Were we prepared for that level? No.”

The Orange stand at an even .500 win percentage on the year, but Doepking is optimistic about the upward trend in the program.

“What do we want as a program? We want to be at regionals one day,” Doepking said. “And we’re not there yet and it’s ultimately what we want to do.”

The Orange will square off against the Hokies one final time tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m.

Avatar for Madison Hilimire

is a graduate student in the Broadcast and Digital Journalism program.