Syracuse defeats Canisius in both doubleheader games

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The last time Syracuse hit a home run was February 19. He ranks last in the Atlantic Coast Conference and had just seven home runs on the year, and is outside the top 200 for that category in all of Division I. But when the Orange needed insurance, Madelyn Lopez ended the Drought of more than a month.

He stepped into the left-handed batter’s box as Canisius’ Megan Giese was in her seventh inning of work. On the first pitch, Giese threw it right up the middle, and Lopez hit it to right-center for his first career home run. He gave the Orange the cushion he needed heading into the final half, where Madison Knight sat out the Golden Griffins at 1-2-3.

Syracuse (9-14, 0-6 ACC) snapped a five-game losing streak, sweeping Canisius (10-11, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) 3-1, 7-4 in a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Lopez not only put the finishing touches on Orange’s first win, but even surrendered the go-ahead RBI earlier in the contest. Going into the fourth inning, Syracuse trailed 1-0, and Giese was pitching a perfect game. He let his first base runner of the afternoon walk past Angie Ramos to lead off the inning, who Angel Jasso brought home with a bunt single, tying the score.

That set up Lopez with runners on first and third. The freshman lined out to center field, which Christie McGee-Ross buffered, but gave way to Gabby Lantier to tag in and score from third base. Lopez finished the first game 1-for-2 at the plate, driving in two of Syracuse’s three runs.

Lindsey Hendrix started in the circle for Game 1 and needed a comeback performance after giving up nine hits and five runs in three innings of work Sunday against Florida State.

He made an improved outing against Canisius, as he pitched 5.0 innings and allowed just one earned run on three hits. Hendrix also struck out five Golden Griffins, which was his fourth appearance of the year recording five or more strikeouts.

Knight took his place in the circle in the sixth inning and received his first save of the season. The Maryland native pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three.

In a quick turnaround, Knight started game two in the circle for Orange and faced some early trouble. Saige Alfaro led off with a single to third base, and Nicole Rivait’s two-run homer instantly brought her to left-center field, giving Canisius a 2–0 lead.

Clyde and Ramos hit back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the second inning, tying the game. But the Griffins quickly regained the lead in the bottom half after Alfaro lined down the left-field line for a two-run double. Canisius led 4-2 after two innings and Knight was pulled for Kaia Oliver.

The Griffins cooled off once Oliver took the circle, finishing the game scoreless in the final five innings of play. They gave Oliver seven hits, but the senior was resilient and overcame jams of runners at the corners and runners on second and third.

Syracuse’s offense gave Oliver adequate insurance early on. In the top of the third, Jude Padilla hit a double off the left center wall that scored both Knight and Kelly Breen, giving the Orange a 5-4 lead.

Oliver also benefited from some defensive help in the third inning, as a diving stop by Breen prevented the Griffins from tying the score at five apiece. With a runner on second, Canisius’ Gabi Farris hit a ground ball that bounced to the left of Breen, who was at shortstop. Breen dove and made a right hand grab, and as he scrambled to his feet, he saw Alyssa Cloutier spinning at third, anticipating the ball would reach the outfield.

Breen instinctively threw the ball to Rebecca Clyde at third and Cloutier was tagged out. Orange finished the third inning unscathed and there were no further lead changes after Breen’s run-saving play.