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With Kelly Breen on second and Geana Torres on first, Syracuse had its best scoring opportunity since the first inning as it tried to climb out of a 9-0 hole against Notre Dame.
Carli Campbell stepped into the batter’s box looking to extend the rally and produce the Orange’s first runs of the game. But Alexis Holloway struck Campbell out swinging.
Jude Padilla came up next, but the same result followed. And when Rebecca Clyde came up to bat with two outs and the Orange at risk of blowing another scoring opportunity, Holloway retired her on strikes to end the inning.
Syracuse was unable to get anything going offensively in its 9-0 loss to Notre Dame which was called after only five innings due to the mercy rule. Holloway tossed a complete game for the Fighting Irish, striking out six batters in the process.
The Orange mustered only four hits, their third-lowest total of the season against Notre Dame (30-7, 9-3 Atlantic Coast). Two came off the bat of Paris Woods, who recorded the team’s first hit at the bottom of the third. Breen and Angel Jasso also produced one hit each. None of Syracuse’s (19-14, 3-10 ACC) four hits went for extra bases.
“Where we’re at as a program, I don’t think we believe we stack up well with a team like that,” head coach Shannon Doepking said after a loss to Virginia Tech last season. With the Fighting Irish outscoring the Orange 14-2 over the first two games of this weekend’s series, Syracuse’s struggle against stronger ACC competition has carried over from last year.
While Holloway’s overall dominant performance successfully stifled Syracuse’s offense, she walked four batters, which allowed the Orange to put multiple runners on base on numerous occasions. The first time was in the first inning after Notre Dame had jumped out to a four-run lead in the top of the frame.
Neli Casares-Maher led off the inning with a walk before Jasso grounded into a fielder’s choice, effectively taking Casares-Maher’s spot on first. Jasso then stole second — her team-leading 17th stolen base of the season — and advanced to third on a passed ball, putting her in scoring position before Tessa Galipeau joined her on the basepaths with a one-out walk.
Syracuse’s dugout came out loud and rowdy after the game had been delayed four hours due to a rain delay, but despite the energy, Holloway caught Breen swinging on a pitch in the dirt before Laila Alves flew out to center to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Woods led off with a bunt single. Casares-Maher replaced her on first base after hitting into a fielder’s choice and advanced to second when Jasso did the same. Galipeau walked, and the Orange again possessed an opportunity to get on the board.
But the rain and wind picked up, and Holloway caught Breen looking on strike three to end the game. Overall, the Orange left seven runners on base, with Breen, Alves and Clyde all stranding two runners each over the course of the game.
After a doubleheader sweep in favor of Florida State last season, Doepking said the Orange “left a ton of runners on” and that they “haven’t had the clutch hits that we need when people are on.” Both sentiments were applicable to Saturday afternoon’s game as Syracuse couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities while Notre Dame left only four runners on base despite recording eight hits and working three walks, in addition to two batters being hit by a pitch.
With only two runs in two games against Notre Dame, the Orange are at risk of producing their lowest number of runs in a series since they scored only three in a three-game series against Virginia Tech in March. The Hokies swept the Orange that weekend — a result Syracuse will look to avoid on Sunday at noon in the third and final game of the series against the Fighting Irish.
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