Softball

Syracuse walks-off against Virginia Tech for the second straight game in 2-1 win

Jordan Phelps | Staff Photographer

Syracuse crowds second baseman Alicia Hansen after her walk-off single on Saturday afternoon.

The situation seemed eerily similar. Going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Sammy Fernandez and Alicia Hansen knew how the final plays could develop.

“Walk-off time.” Hansen told Fernandez.

“Maybe it’s your turn,” Fernandez responded.

That inning started with two outs. But Fernandez singled, and then scored on a single from Hansen after an error. It resulted in a 2-1 Syracuse (29-18, 9-10 Atlantic Coast) win over Virginia Tech (19-33, 5-18 Atlantic Coast), the second time in as many days that the Orange walked off against the Hokies. The victory came after six innings of offensive struggles from the Orange, but the game was kept close until Hansen’s single.

“Right when the inning started I looked to everyone and said, ‘Please let me get up,’” Hansen said. “I knew I could win it. I don’t feel pressure.”

The game developed nearly identical to SU’s 3-2 walk-off victory on Friday. In both games SU struggled to create offense until the bottom half of the seventh inning. Adding to the similarities, both games ended on a line-drive single to left field in which the outfielder overran the ball, letting it slip under their glove.

Over the last 12 games prior to Friday’s contest, Syracuse had scored five or more runs in 10 of them. The struggles that SU have had offensively in this series aren’t common for an Orange team that ranks third in the ACC in total runs scored.

“Last weekend we scored ten against (North Carolina) and lost, then we scored two against (Virginia Tech) and won,” head coach Mike Bosch said. “There’s only one thing at the end of the day that matters and that’s winning at the end of the game.”

Bosch added that he does enjoy walk-off victories a lot, even if his team playfully teased him for his celebratory antics, hopping up and down with his arms high in the air, after both wins. But he also says that he wants the team to take more advantage offensively earlier in the game and that the team should not wait for the seventh inning to get things going.

SU showed signs of making good contact all game long. The team swung on a lot of first pitches and challenged the Hokies by putting the ball in play. Virginia Tech responded with sound defensive plays which Fernandez says “robbed” the Orange of a few better hits.

“We hit a lot of hard balls today, (Jessica Heese) had a really hard hit ball and (Hannah Dossett), (Hansen) had two hard ones that got robbed,” Fernandez said. “We hit well, it was just right at them. We were unlucky today.”

Fernandez, who scored the final run, knew that she had as important an opportunity to make a play as Hansen did. Immediately when she got on base, Bosch yelled to her that she needed to always have a mentality to score. And if the ball landed in the gap, she was going to be on home plate.

Bosch said that he was confident with the situation after Fernandez, who holds the Syracuse record for hits in a single season with 70, got on base. She is one of SU’s best runners and Bosch said that Syracuse was fortunate that she was on base at that point of the game.

“As I was rounding second I was looking for Bosch and I caught him early, he was waving me home,” said Fernandez. “I was just trying to book it as fast as I could around the bases.”

After she crossed the plate she quickly embraced her teammates and Hansen, the one who brought her home.

“I wanted it.” Hansen said.

And she got it.

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