Syracuse softball sweeps Buffalo in 2021 home opener

Syracuse softball sweeps Buffalo in 2021 home opener

The Orange have won seven consecutive games and boast a 13-9 record, despite 10 cancelled or postponed games.
Published: April 6, 2021
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Alexa Romero (27), starting on the mound for Syracuse, winds up for a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader against Buffalo on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Syracuse softball won both games of their home opener doubleheader against the Buffalo Bulls. It had been 702 days since the Orange last played a game on home turf, and SU returned in style, winning 6-2 in the first game and 9-1 in six innings in the second game.

The Orange continued their win streak thanks to impressive pitching performances in both games and an offensive explosion. These wins against Buffalo now make seven in a row for Syracuse.

Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking described why it’s been important to play at home.

“For a place like Syracuse, we’re on the road six or seven weekends, it’s very grueling,” Doepking said. “It’s nice to be home and not be on a plane or a bus or any of the above, so it was really nice.”

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Orange were hot on both sides of the plate. Starting pitcher Alexa Romero tied her season-high with thirteen strikeouts. Romero posted the same number against UMass in the last game for the Orange. In tonight’s game, Romero struck out every player on the Buffalo lineup.

Doepking said a strength for Romero is that she is able to pound the strike zone. The two strong performances have helped Romero’s case for being the Orange’s ace.

“I think she’s been wanting to be our number one,” Doepking said. “I think at this point Lexi has done a really, really good job. She is going to earn the ball on our Friday games.”

The strikeouts were the only parallel in performances for SU when comparing it to their last game. Against UMass, the Orange only had two hits and one run. Against the Bulls, Syracuse had six runs fueled by the Orange’s discipline and power on the plate. In the second inning, Toni Martin hit a solo home run to put the Orange up one against Buffalo. Martin’s home run in the second inning was her fourth of the season and the first home run of the year at Skytop Softball Stadium.

In the third inning, freshman Angel Jasso had a two-run blast for the Orange. Syracuse had four runs on four hits and had two stolen bases to give them a five-run lead on the Bulls. Romero pitched four hitless innings for the Orange in the doubleheader.

The game’s dynamic changed only slightly in the sixth. It looked like Geana Torres had picked off a Buffalo runner stealing a base, but it was called back for obstruction. With a player now on second, the Bulls hit in a couple runs to cut Syracuse’s lead to four.

That was not enough as Syracuse and Romero held off the late storm from the Bulls. Romero finished the game with one error, two earned runs, and thirteen strikeouts. The Orange took the first game of the doubleheader by a score of 6-2.

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Angel Jasso (28) touches home plate as her teammates cheer on during a game against Buffalo on Tuesday, April 6 at Skytop Softball Stadium.

In the doubleheader’s second game, the Orange looked to keep the momentum going. Kaia Oliver took over pitching duties for game two and got two quick strikeouts early on, retiring the top of the lineup for the Bulls.

In the bottom of the first, Lailoni Mayfield battled with the Bull’s pitcher and took a base. Neli Casares-Maher hit an RBI, and Mayfield scored from third to give the Orange an early one-run lead over Buffalo. The Bulls tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second inning.

In the third, Mayfield hit a perfectly placed ball that brought home Paris Woods and gave Syracuse the lead over Buffalo, 2-1. Gabby Teran helped give the Orange a two-run lead when she laid down a bunt near home base.

The bunt got Calista Almer out at home but brought Mayfield through to the plate. Syracuse and Buffalo had a scoreless  fourth inning.

Teran, in the bottom of the fifth inning, hit an RBI double and took home. Jasso hit an RBI single, continuing her momentum from the previous games. Martin hit a two-run home run, her second home run of the day, to bring her season home run tally up to five. The Orange scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth against the Bulls.

In the bottom of the sixth, freshman Olivia Pess got her first hit of the season. Teran finished the game with a double that soared into left field and brought home two runs to give Syracuse the walk-off win in the sixth inning. Syracuse won the game by a score of 9 to 1 to sweep Buffalo. Oliver finished the game with eight strikeouts.

Although the Orange secured two wins against the Bulls, Doepking thinks the team has more work to do.

“I just think that we have a lot of growing to do,” Doepking said. “I think every day we go to work and try to get a little bit better and try to build off things we need to grow in.”

Doepking finds that the Orange are in a good position going into their next couple of games but doesn’t want to get too optimistic.

“I think it’s going to be a good weekend for us, but it’s not good if we can’t do the little things right,” Doepking said. “We can’t establish the strike zone. If we swing at bad pitches, it’s going to be a terrible weekend for us, and we have had a couple of those already.”

The Orange look to continue the winning streak when they head to Boston College on Friday.