Syracuse softball splits with Clemson on senior day
Syracuse softball splits with Clemson on senior day
The Syracuse softball team came back to Skytop Softball Stadium after a 4-2 loss to the number eleven team in the country on Friday. In Saturday’s series, Clemson took the first game 4-2, but the Orange battled back for a walkoff win in game two.
The first game of the doubleheader started off shaky for the Orange pitching staff as Lindsey Hendrix walked the first batter, threw a wild pitch to advance the runner and hit a batter to start out the game. The team managed to get themselves out of a jam with a double play from Rebecca Clyde.
Gabby Teran started off the bottom of the second inning with a single into shallow center field and Lailoni Mayfield walked after the single. Geana Torres bunted but advanced the runners to second and third. Toni Martin came up clutch and smoked a single past the center fielder into the gap to score both Mayfield and Teran and take the lead, 2-0.
In the top of the third though, the momentum shifted to Clemson. Ansley Gilstrap singled through the left side and advanced to second on a bunt from Valarie Cagle who also reached first safely. Gilstrap then advanced to third on a sacrifice fly and a fielders choice on a ball to second base scored Gilstrap to put the Tigers within striking distance, 2-1.
Both teams held their own for the next few innings but the Clemson offense stepped up in the fifth inning. Cagle reached on error and Marissa Guimbarda homered to dead center field to take the lead, 3-2. A walk and a double to right center put the Tigers up two.
After the double, Kaia Oliver came in to pitch for the Orange, and she shut down the Clemson offense for the rest of the game. But the Orange were not able to get the bats hot again and they drop the first game of the doubleheader, 4-2.
In the second game of the day, Oliver got the start in the circle. Clemson started the game off hot with a double from McKenzie Clark on the first pitch of the game, followed by Gilstrap getting hit in the back by Oliver.
The freshman phenom Cagle reached first after Syracuse’s Clyde bobbled her hard hit ball at third and couldn’t make the play. Clark then tagged up and scored on a line drive that was caught by Angel Jasso in right field. That was all the Tigers would get as Oliver struck out the last batter of the inning.
That was the first time Clemson scored first in the series.
Syracuse responded swiftly in the second inning as Mayfield hit a hard double over the right fielders head, and Martin ripped a ball over the fence to regain the lead, 2-1.
The Orange had more up their sleeves though as Clyde drew a walk with two outs. Calista Almer hit a double when the ball bounced off the first base bag and dribbled into right field and Clyde advanced to third.
Paris Woods got in on the fun when she singled up the middle to score both Clyde and Almer and give the Orange a 3-run advantage.
Clemson clawed their way back again in the third when the Syracuse defense struggled. Oliver walked the first batter and an error by Clyde at third gave the Tigers two baserunners. Cagle then demolished a ball into right field, tying the ball game at four a piece.
Syracuse responded in the bottom half of the inning when a throwing error by Clemson led to Teran getting to first. A couple pass balls and an error led to Torres scoring all the way from first to go up a run. Syracuse took advantage of Clemson’s miscues on the base paths all day.
Alexa Romero stepped into the circle for Syracuse in the fourth and handled the Tigers in order in the top half of the frame. But in the fifth Cagle hit a solo shot, her second home run of the day to even the score, 5-5.
The two teams battled in the fifth and sixth innings, and made the game interesting in the seventh. Clark and Gilstrap both reached base on singles for the Tigers and Cagle once again stepped up with a single down the left field line to score Clark and regain the lead, 6-5.
The Orange had one last chance and they took advantage at the plate. Neli Casares-Maher reached first on a slow roller down to the third baseman where she beat out the throw. Teran then reached on a dropped ball by the first baseman and Casares-Maher advanced to second.
Mayfield hit a line drive to third that was bobbled by the third baseman and Casares-Maher maneuvered her way past the diving third baseman trying to tag her to make it safely to third. It would be an understatement to say that the dugout was fired up.
With one out, Torres stepped up to the plate. Torres has struggled all season long but came up huge. She lined one up the middle and both Casares-Maher and Teran scored to give the Orange the much needed win, 7-6.
The team ran onto the field after Teran scored and surrounded Torres as the Orange got the walkoff win over the number-11 team in the country.
After the game, head coach Shannon Doepking said she was elated with the win and how her team played.
“Obviously super fun to be on this side of the column,” Doepking said. “We challenged them [Clemson] yesterday and even today, and this program has to get to a point where we’re not satisfied hanging around a team like Clemson.”
Doepking also mentioned that the program is on an upward trend and wins like this prove that.
“We’ve been at the bottom of the ACC for a really long time and I don’t think anybody expects us to win games like this,” Doepking said. “We have challenged them to play clean and do the things we need to do to put ourselves in a position to compete with a team like Clemson.”
The Orange will get one last shot at the Tigers tomorrow at noon. That game will be the final game of the regular season for both teams, and with a win Clemson would clinch the regular-season ACC title in their first full year as a program.