Syracuse softball suffers three-game sweep to conclude regular season

Syracuse softball suffers three-game sweep to conclude regular season

Orange pitchers and defense struggle against ACC foe Boston College.
Published: May 9, 2023
Syracuse's Madison Knight (#27) pitches in the game against University of Virginia.
Syracuse's Madison Knight (#27) pitches in a game against Virginia on April 29 at Skytop Softball Stadium.

The Boston College Eagles (24-28, 6-18 ACC) swept the Syracuse Orange (23-25-1, 7-15-1 ACC) in a three-game series this weekend at Skytop Softball Stadium to conclude the regular season for both programs.

“We got to learn to hate to lose,” Orange coach Shannon Doepking said. “We got to get to a place that the feeling of losing even if we are in the ACC Tournament has to mean something to us. I got to figure out as a head coach how do we get this team there.”

On Friday, SU was only able to muster five baserunners as they had two hits, a walk, a hit by pitch and one runner reached on an error. The Eagles, on the other hand, put nine on base as they won the contest by a score of 4-2.

“Undisciplined, we swung at every rise ball we saw and we took the pitches we should be swinging at,” Doepking said of the offense. “Last week we had a lot of success because we were so disciplined on the rise ball, today we were not disciplined, not even a little bit. When you swing at pitches that are tough to hit you are going to have a long day and that is what we had.”

The Orange split time in the circle almost evenly on Friday as freshman pitcher Madison Knight got the start going three and two-thirds innings, conceding two earned runs on two hits and four walks. She was relieved by junior pitcher Lindsey Hendrix who went three and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk for the loss.

“We walked a ton of batters and then when we did throw strikes they went right down the plate,” Doepking said of her pitchers. “It is a recipe for disaster. Defense was really good, offense was not and pithing was not. You need two facets of the game in order to win ball games.”

After one inning on Saturday, the Orange led by a score of 2-1 and it stayed that way until the Eagles were down to their last out. Boston College’s Meghan Schouten ripped the ball to right field just out of the reach of freshman outfielder Madelyn Lopez for a double that would plate the tying run. The Eagles would add four more in the top of the ninth to win the game 6-2.

“Routine plays, came down to a flyball in right field,” Doepking said of what the team needed to improve on. “We didn’t make the play and they (Boston College) made some spectacular plays, so it just comes down to they made plays and we didn’t.”

Knight got the start for the Orange again, throwing 178 pitches over eight and one-third innings of work. She conceded four earned runs on nine hits and four walks before giving way to senior pitcher Kaia Oliver, who allowed the final two runs on one hit and two walks.

“We had opportunities and just did not get it done,” Doepking said. “When we needed timely hits we did not have it and when they (Boston College) needed timely hits they got them done, so it is kind of the way the game works.”

Sunday was more of the same as the Eagles plated three runs in the second. The Orange would respond with a pair of their own in the fourth, but it wouldn’t be enough as Boston College would tack on one more in the seventh to make the final 4-2.

“The goal isn’t [an] ACC Tournament, as much as we are excited to go and we did what we did to put ourselves in this spot to be able to go. Being able to get them to be not so complacent with a series like this because we got in the week before,” Doepking said. “I got to do a better job, I got to figure that out.”

Saturday was a special occasion as the Orange recognized their four seniors including Oliver, infielders Yamila Evans and Rebecca Clyde, as well as catcher Geana Torres. These seniors make up the first class that Doepking recruited.

“They are special,” Doepking said of the senior class. “They were a part of helping us change the culture of this team and change the culture of this program, and I owe a lot to them as people.”

Syracuse's Taylor Posner (#26) makes it safely to second base.
Syracuse's utility player Taylor Posner (#26) makes it safely to second base.

Next up for the Orange is a matchup against the Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament. The Orange won all three regular season meetings between the sides at Skytop Softball Stadium from April 28-29.

“I think we just got to regroup,” Doepking said. “Obviously we are going to take today, we leave tomorrow, we get to practice on Tuesday. It is just little things. Defense was not good today, timing was not good. I actually thought Lindsey Hendrix threw well for us enough to give us a chance to win, we just did not make the plays behind her.”

The game will be played at Melissa Cook Stadium in South Bend, Indiana on Notre Dame’s campus. First pitch is set for Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the winner then playing Florida State at 11 a.m. Thursday. The semifinal games will be Friday and the championship set for 1 p.m. Saturday.