Close play that goes against SU proves costly in eventual 11-10 loss to North Carolina
Jordan Phelps | Staff Photographer
The crowd at SU Softball Stadium roared with anger. Kelsey Johnson stood on the bag at third base in confusion as head coach Mike Bosch argued the out call the umpire just made. Johnson thought she had gotten under the tag and her coach, as well as the crowd around her, all agreed with her assessment. But the umpire did not budge.
The very next play, Alicia Hansen, who at the time had only one other home run this season, hit a bomb over the left center field fence. But Bosch was still enraged. His team just added to its run total, but his frustration was reflecting upon what he felt was missing.
Syracuse (26-17, 7-10 Atlantic Coast) dropped the second game of the series against North Carolina (36-13, 14-6) in nine innings on Sunday. In its 11-10 loss, the questionable call at third base ended up being the deciding run in the game, one that many on SU said they believe should have been scored.
“I thought I was safe,” Johnson said. “It’s tough, (Hansen and I) were both frustrated with it. We’re not going to get things called our way every time.”
Syracuse, seventh in the ACC, needed just one win to clinch the series against the Tar Heels, second in the conference. Over the past four seasons, Syracuse is 3-7 against North Carolina, never winning more than one game in any of the seasons. Winning the series would have provided a huge boost for the Orange.
Hansen’s home run was one of the first signs of offense the Orange had seen all game long. Going scoreless through the first four innings, Syracuse’s four-run fifth inning tied the game which would eventually go to extra innings.
The entire game the Orange fought from behind. Down four runs in the fifth, SU scored four runs to even up the score. Down three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the last shot it had at a game-saving comeback, the team scored three runs to tie the game again and send it to extra innings. Following a rough defensive top of the ninth, Syracuse found themselves again down four, 11-7. In the bottom of the inning, SU scored three runs, falling just short of another come-from-behind inning to extend the game. The extra runner at third was the Orange’s only opportunity to be on top in the game.
“It was one that we could have had, it was a game-changer,” Hansen said. “If (the umpires) aren’t going to help us, then we have to show them we could do it on our own.”
Johnson added that she and her teammates would prefer not to play from behind in most games, but that is a boost in morale when the team has big innings. Bosch agreed that explosive offensive innings shouldn’t be a negative as long as they consistently lead to runs.
In the past 10 games SU has played, each contains one or two innings in which the Orange score more than half of its final run total. Over the same 10-game span, Syracuse has played 35 different innings in which they have been held scoreless.
The offensive power in the fifth kept the Orange around in the game, but SU still left the inning disappointed at what could’ve been.
“A little bit,” Bosch said on if he felt disappointed following the home run by Hansen. “Close plays like that happen in softball, sometimes they don’t go your way.”
Published on April 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm
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