Syracuse offense looks to continue success in road doubleheader against Canisius


first_imgIn a game that seemed to be highlighted by back-to-back home runs in the first inning, it wasn’t until the fifth against Niagara that Syracuse’s offense offered a glimpse of how dynamic it can be.Five consecutive batters reached base for the Orange, leading to two runs on just one hit. It was another demonstration of SU’s offensive philosophy: having quality at-bats — a task that every batter can meet regardless of individual skill.“When you come out hitting the ball, it sends a good vibe to the rest of the team,” sophomore shortstop Corinne Ozanne said, “and it gives a boost of confidence to everybody else.”Throughout the season, the Orange (21-22, 10-11 Atlantic Coast) has had to battle through a challenging ACC schedule and make up for a young pitching staff. As a result, the offense has had a chance to rise to the occasion.And for the most part, it has. SU’s lineup will look to continue its success Thursday in a doubleheader against Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y., starting at 3:30 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe team currently boasts a .297 batting average, .494 slugging percentage and .380 on-base percentage — a school record-setting pace in all three categories. Additionally, six batters on Syracuse are hitting better than .300, including Ozanne at .351 and Sydney O’Hara at .349.“I think that says a lot about up and down the lineup everybody’s contributing,” SU head coach Leigh Ross said, “and I think we have to understand that and rely on that sometimes.”Syracuse was swept by Florida State last weekend and crossed the plate only twice in three games. Following the 5-0 win over Niagara, Ross said that she didn’t consider it a breakout game because the offense has been good all year.“We have good offense, so don’t push,” Ross said. “Don’t try too hard to get everything done with one swing.”Although the Orange is one game below .500 in conference play, it ranks fourth in batting average, third in slugging percentage and fifth in on-base percentage in the ACC.“It just helps us focus on not really having to get a hit every single time,” Watson said, “because a seven-pitch at-bat and you striking out is still as good as you getting a hit.”Since working a deep pitch count is one of the ways to have a quality at-bat, Ross said the Orange has a drill in practice where batters try to foul off as many pitches as possible.Although it’s an action performed by individuals, both Watson and Ozanne said that good hitting is contagious. Any time a player contributes for Syracuse, teammates gain confidence and think they can be just as successful. Even if a player gets out, she can help the team.Many times this season, players have gotten out but learned something about the pitcher. Before Ozanne and Watson hit back-to-back homers against Niagara, each player received information from teammates who already batted that they were able to use to their advantage.Not a single member of Syracuse ranks in the top 10 of the ACC in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits and RBIs. Yet as a team, the Orange may set school records this year in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.Said Watson: “When one person’s hitting, we just domino effect and we all hit.” Comments Published on April 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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