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Angel Jasso stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning. The Orange led 1-0 and had the opportunity to break the game open against North Carolina pitcher Carlie Myrtle, who replaced starter Lilli Backes two at-bats prior.
The second pitch of the at-bat came up and inside, hitting Jasso, which brought in a run. While walking to first base, Jasso outstretched her arms to expressed her discontent with the pitch at her head.
On the next at bat, catcher Taylor Greene seemingly made contact with Neli Casares-Maher’s bat on her swing with a 1-2 count. Head coach Shannon Doepking argued for a catcher’s interference call, but was unsuccessful — prompting the crowd to make its displeasure known.
Right after, Casares-Maher ripped a single up the middle to score Laila Alves and Olivia Pess, expanding Syracuse’s lead to 4-0. Bri Stubbs attempted to throw Pess out at home, but Pess slid in safely and Casares-Maher advanced to second base with Jasso reaching third.
Timely hitting played a significant role as the Orange (24-20, 6-15 Atlantic Coast) defeated the Tar Heels (23-27, 6-17 ACC) by a score of 6-2 on Saturday afternoon in the second matchup of a three-game series that will wrap up Syracuse’s regular season.
The Orange struck first on an RBI double by Alves in the second inning that barely fell short of the fence for a home run. With Carli Campbell on first and Tessa Galipeau on second, Alves ripped Backes’ final pitch of the day down the right field line, hitting the top of the wall just below the foul pole. Galipeau scored and Syracuse took a lead that it held for the remainder of the game.
Syracuse finished with eight hits on the day, tied for its second-highest total of the season against ACC opponents. Casares-Maher and Alves both notched multiple hits with two apiece, while Casares-Maher’s three RBIs led the team.
Having led 4-0 since the second inning, Casares-Maher tacked on another run for the Orange with a moonshot home run to lead off the fifth inning. The ball sailed beyond the flagpole that overlooks the left center field fence, and as Casares-Maher trotted toward home plate, her teammates collectively bowed down in celebration.
The Tar Heels got on the board in the top of the sixth inning, posting two runs to end Lindsey Hendrix’s streak of eight consecutive scoreless innings. They cut SU’s lead to 5-2, but the Orange were quickly able to respond and pull away once again.
Jasso ripped a one-out double off the left field wall in the bottom of the inning, and moved to third base on a Casares-Maher groundout the following at-bat. On the next at-bat, Kelly Breen brought Jasso home by launching a fly ball out of the reach of left fielder Kiannah Pierce that bounced off the wall for a double. By jumping out to an early lead and adding to it throughout the game, Syracuse kept UNC from cutting the deficit to less than three runs at any point after the second inning.
“Just having great plans at the plate and good pitch selection,” Pess said of what has led to SU’s recent offensive production. “Just working behind our pitching and having each other’s backs.”
Jasso and Casares-Maher have been at the forefront of Syracuse’s offensive success, as they make up the top two on the team in terms of hits, runs, total bases and batting average. Jasso has recorded a hit in six of SU’s last seven conference games, while Casares-Maher has homered in both games against UNC. Casares-Maher’s season total of 12 makes her the only player on the team with double-digit home runs.
All three UNC pitchers on Saturday allowed at least one run to the Orange, who have outscored the Tar Heels 9-3 through two games. The two teams will play again on Sunday at noon in Syracuse’s regular-season finale.
“We have our heart of the lineup doing their job, which is really important,” Pess said. “I’m super proud of them.”
The post SU capitalizes on timely hitting en route to 6-2 win over UNC appeared first on The Daily Orange.
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