Syracuse capitalizes on Cornell’s mistakes in 6-2 win
Jordan Phelps | Staff Photographer
Faith Cain’s hard line drive popped up off the infield dirt and headed toward Cornell shortstop Erin Rockstroh. The ball deflected off Rockstroh’s elbow as her arms shifted up to adjust to the strange hop. The bench erupted as the ball bounced into the outfield while Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch signaled senior first baseman Sydney O’Hara home from second base. What originally appeared to be a routine ground ball turned into an RBI base hit for SU.
“If we see the ball down we just try to be aggressive and take the extra base,” O’Hara said.
While Cornell (13-28-1, 6-14 Ivy League) was not charged with any errors in the box score, misplayed balls and wild pitches gave Syracuse (31-18, 10-10 Atlantic Coast) the opportunities it needed in a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. In just five innings of play, Syracuse used eight hits to rack up six runs, 0.6 higher than its 5.4 runs per game. Before umpires stopped the game early due to rain puddles in the infield, Syracuse advanced on four wild pitches, including two for runs.
Ranked fifth in the conference in stolen bases with 42, Syracuse doesn’t steal the extra base at an alarming rate. In fact, the Orange was 0-for-1 in stolen base attempts on Tuesday. But SU didn’t need to steal bases in its regular season finale. Instead, they were given to them.
“It’s a pretty easy decision,” Bosch said. “when you see the ball go to the back stop you can get an extra base out of that.”
Second baseman Alicia Hansen exploited Cornell’s pitching errors in the fourth inning. She began her trip around the bases with a shot up the middle which scored both catcher Alyssa Dewes and centerfielder Toni Martin, while advancing shortstop Sammy Fernandez to third base.
On the next pitch, Hansen took her normal lead before darting off as the ball skimmed past the catcher. The ball glided past Cornell’s Olivia Lam once again on the next pitch. This time, the ball tipped her glove and didn’t quite reach the backstop, which forced Fernandez to dodge pitcher Katie Lew’s tag as she slid home. The at-bat finally ended on a fourth straight ball from Lew, allowing O’Hara a free walk to first base.
The wild pitches continued. This time the ball sailed high above Lam’s head and Hansen touched home plate standing with no threat of a tag. In five pitches the junior made her way around the bases without the ball being put into play once.
“I just try my best to get as an aggressive a lead as I can,” Hansen said. “That way if I see the ball down I can go. If I see it down, right when I see it hit the ground I usually take a few steps. If she blocks it I can still get back, and if it goes by her I’m already half way there.”
Syracuse’s four-run fourth inning proved to be the deciding factor of the game. Cornell’s two runs in the fifth inning were not enough to overcome its mistakes in the field, as six different players rounded the bases for Syracuse.
All runners developed a similar mentality: just run.
Published on May 2, 2017 at 6:26 pm