Softball

Syracuse softball strings together hits to sweep Virginia Tech in 6-1 win

Codie Yan | Staff Photographer

Bryce Holmgren went 2-for-2 with a walk in the game, and also drove in a run.

Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch walked out of the dugout with a smile. His team had just completed its second sweep of an ACC team this year. And for the first time in the last three games the victory didn’t come on Syracuse’s last at bat.

In the first two games of the series Syracuse scored in the bottom of the seventh inning to clinch its victory. In the series finale, that wasn’t necessary. With eight hits and four walks Syracuse not only got runners on base but also drove them home.

“Obviously walk off wins are so exciting,” senior pitcher and first baseman Sydney O’Hara said. “But we were like, ‘we can’t make it a walk off. We just need to come out here pound.’”

After scoring just five runs in the first two games of the series, Syracuse’s (30-18, 10-10 Atlantic Coast) offense produced six against Virginia Tech (19-34, 5-19) on Sunday. With the 6-1 victory, Syracuse eclipsed the 30-win mark for the first time since 2012 and clinched a spot in the ACC tournament for the third time in program history. In its final regular season game in conference play, the ACC’s second best hitting team excelled in the batter’s box.

“Today they were hard hit balls just as they were the last couple days they just weren’t right at them,” Bosch said. “We used a couple of the walks they gave us to our advantage and up and down the order we got a little more production than we got the last couple games.”

All but one of Syracuse’s eight hits were singles. In the third inning, junior shortstop Sammy Fernandez drove a hard ground ball past Virginia Tech pitcher Olivia Lattin and barely beat the throw to first. Second baseman Alicia Hansen smacked the ball into left field in the next at bat before O’Hara crushed a ground ball into the gap in right field. As the ball busted through the infield, Bosch emphatically waved his arm, signaling Fernandez home. She slid in safely well before the tag and Syracuse led, 2-1.

The total number of hits was only up one from Saturday’s win. On Sunday, the hits strung together better and fell into gaps they didn’t the first two games of the series. Five of Syracuse’s eight hits came in the third inning when Syracuse drove in four runs.

“I think we’ve been a fairly consistent offensive team over the last two months,” Bosch said. “You’re going to have those couple games when you hit the balls right at them.”

Syracuse’s lone extra base hit left the ballpark. Third basemen Hannah Dossett attacked a pitch low and inside. The sophomore’s second homerun of the season capped off the four-run inning.

“It was inside a little bit and I’ve been having trouble with that because I have had a hurt back,” Dossett said. “So I was kinda surprised by it. But once I hit it I knew I hit it well.”

Dossett was the first Syracuse batter to face Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Birle on Sunday. Birle pitched the complete game in the second game of the series allowing two runs in 6 and 2/3 innings of work, in game three she allowed two in just 3 and 1/3 innings of work.

In the fifth inning, Syracuse capitalized on Birle’s erratic pitching. The nation’s leader in batting average, O’Hara, didn’t flinch as four consecutive pitches sailed high and outside. Bosch pinch ran for O’Hara with freshman Toni Martin, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bryce Holmgren drove in Martin on a deep single down the left field line to cap off the game’s scoring.

“I did a better job on being more selective on pitches I swung at and actually being more aggressive on balls over the plate,” Hokmgren said.

“That was definitely the difference today and I think that was probably the difference with the entire team today. We did a better job of swinging at strikes early in the count.”

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