SB : Syracuse uses clutch hitting, manufactures runs to defeat Binghamton

first_img Comments Published on April 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets If Jasmine Watson timed her swing a split second better, the ball would have flown over the left-field fence. Instead, her monster cut sent a line drive into foul territory, kicking up a cloud of dirt when it landed in the Syracuse bullpen.But when hitters like Watson couldn’t locate their home run swings, they took walks and did whatever they could to extend the inning. Once in scoring position, SU pounced when it counted. The Orange scored each of its six runs with two outs in a 6-1 win in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against Binghamton at Skytop Softball Stadium. Carey-Leigh Thomas provided the biggest hit – a three-run home run in the fifth inning that accounted for half of SU’s scoring – but she was just one of many players who came up with big hits with two outs. The Orange went on to sweep the doubleheader with a 2-0 victory over the Bearcats in game two.Head coach Leigh Ross said the clutch hitting in the first game was a deciding factor.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘To pick up those extra hits with two outs makes a difference,’ Ross said. ‘You end up being able to breathe a little easier later on.’ SU earned that breathing room in the fifth inning. That inning – sparked by Watson’s walk – was a case study on how SU’s recommitment to patience at the plate led to clutch hitting and runs batted in. Before Thomas put the game on ice with a three-run center field shot, SU held an unconvincing 2-1 lead. But Watson earned her way to first after eight pitches. Watson’s pinch runner, outfielder Emily Thompson, went from first to second on a wild pitch. And catcher Lacey Kohl walked to extend the inning even further, prompting louder and louder cheers from the SU dugout.‘That just shows we all have each other’s backs when we hit,’ Kohl said. ‘We don’t always need the huge hits, but we knew we were onto something.’It didn’t take long for that something to happen. With two outs and runners on first and second, hitting coach Wally King said there ‘wasn’t any base for Carey-Leigh Thomas to walk to.’ Thomas said after King nodded to her and signaled that she could swing freely, she knew it was time to make Bearcats starter Kristen Emerling pay for those walks.‘That pumped me up,’ Thomas said of her coach’s swing-for-the-fences signal.If her teammates weren’t on base, Thomas’ centerfield shot would not have been as severe a blow. But that home run scored Kohl and Thompson too – and Thomas said she wouldn’t have had a shot to get that home run without Watson’s and Kohl’s patience. ‘I knew I had to score my teammates,’ said Thomas. ‘Coaches tell us to lock in because we never want to leave people on base, and everyone did their job in the first game to make sure that happened.’By manufacturing runs, SU scored its base runners rather than leaving them hanging. In the sixth inning, outfielder Shirley Daniels legged out a single as the leadoff hitter before stealing second base. And again, with two outs, SU scored when Lisaira Daniels doubled her sister home. SU earned an early lead by deploying the same tactics. Kohl reached second and stole third. With two outs left and Thomas at the plate, Kohl scored on a wild pitch by Emerling.Kohl said that inning, and the innings that followed, showed that her teammates will do whatever it takes to score runs and keep the at bats coming. ‘Nobody ever wants to be the third out, no one on this team wants to be last in anything,’ said Kohl. ‘Two outs or not, we’re trying to score.’ [email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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