Syracuse solving struggles at plate ahead of Big East crunch time

first_img Published on April 17, 2013 at 12:37 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse It was as if weeks of offensive struggle had become too much to bear.After going down 5-0 in the first inning against Georgetown on Sunday, the Syracuse offense adjusted its focus and mounted a comeback that could propel it into the latter half of its Big East schedule.Nine innings and nine unanswered runs later, the Orange defeated the Hoyas 9-5 on the heels of a surprising offensive outbreak.Syracuse (14-22, 2-7 Big East) will square off with Villanova (15-20, 2-9) in a doubleheader at Skytop Softball Stadium on Wednesday. While the Orange’s pitching has struggled, its anemic offense hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. Heading into its next conference test, SU will need its offense to build on Sunday’s success and start a new chapter in what has been a disappointing season thus far.“It’s always easier when the offense is clicking,” head coach Leigh Ross said. “It’s easier to play with a lead and it helps the pitching staff get comfortable.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has scored first in five of its nine conference games. But after striking first blood, the team’s bats have tended to shrink as games move on.But Sunday was different.After Lindsey Larkin yielded five runs to the Hoyas in the top of the first, the Orange seemed to be heading toward another defeat. Then, Corinne Ozanne pulled off a quick turnaround.“I really struggled on Saturday and I was pretty discouraged,” Ozanne said. “Sunday, they threw the same pitchers as Saturday. I just did my best to feel out the sequences and put the ball in play.”Ozanne went 0-for-5 combined in both games of a doubleheader on Saturday, then followed it up with a performance of a lifetime. On a 2-2 fastball, she jumpstarted the Orange offense with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. In the next inning, she hit a two-run home run down the left field line to make the score 5-3. After her sacrifice fly tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh, her three-run homer in the ninth put the Orange ahead for good.Her final line: three hits, three home runs, seven RBIs.Along with Ozanne, Julie Wambold and Jasmine Watson each hit two home runs on the weekend, giving the Orange a jolt of power when it needed it the most.“We work a lot on our offensive game, and for us to pull through with eight long balls on the weekend is big,” Ozanne said. “That gives our pitching staff both a cushion and some confidence.”With the absence of sophomore Lindsay Taylor, SU’s pitching staff has struggled in Big East play. Syracuse has given up an average of nine runs in the team’s nine conference games, but the offense hasn’t been much better.The Orange is averaging a little more than three runs per game. With two games against Villanova on Wednesday and a home series with Seton Hall this weekend, it’s still not too late to mitigate the season’s struggles and right the ship.“We just need to hit the ball,” Ozanne said. “That’s going to be the key moving forward. To hit the ball and let the other team make the mistakes.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more