first_img Published on April 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr Comments In a tie game in the fourth inning Sunday, Syracuse looked to rally to take the lead in a crucial Big East game.After Jenna Caira struck out, the bottom three hitters of the lineup came to the plate. For a team struggling to get any production from the bottom of its lineup all season, the fourth inning did not look promising.Then Stacy Kuwik walked. Kelly Saco came up next and doubled. Rachel Helman followed that up with an RBI single.The last three hitters of the order did their job and turned it over to the top of the lineup.The result: a five-run inning that blew the game open. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It’s nice to see the bottom of the lineup getting that started,’ SU head coach Leigh Ross said. ‘It’s good to know that you don’t have to wait for your top of the order to get up and make something happen.’With an offense more balanced than it has been all season, the Orange (19-16, 5-3 Big East) took two of three from Providence (12-18, 3-5) over the weekend. The two teams split on Saturday, with Syracuse winning the first 11-1 and the Friars taking the second 7-6, and the Orange won Sunday’s game 10-2. Syracuse averaged more than nine runs per game in the series, a huge jump from the four runs per game average that SU had on the season prior to this weekend.‘Everybody saw what they wanted and attacked what they wanted,’ said Lisaira Daniels, who went 5-10, raising her team-leading batting average to .382. ‘I think that was the difference from previous games.’The offensive numbers were astronomical for the Orange.Every hitter that received more than one at-bat over the weekend got a hit and scored a run. Syracuse’s 28 runs this weekend eclipsed the total runs scored for the Orange in any of the team’s five tournaments to begin the season.Those tournaments were five games apiece. The Orange did it in three games this weekend.Thank the production from the bottom of the order for that.‘When you’re hitting one through nine, it can just happen at any time,’ Ross said. ‘I think it’s the combination of seeing a lot of live (pitching), and we’re getting deeper in the season and maybe they’re knowing themselves a little bit better as hitters.’Kuwik, Saco and Helman, Syracuse’s usual seven through nine hitters, went 11-25 (.440 batting average) during the weekend. Their combined batting average before the weekend: .199.‘We were a lot more relaxed out there,’ Saco said. ‘Everyone was being more aggressive, jumping on that first strike. We just had a little more confidence in ourselves.’Syracuse’s offense got out to a fast start all weekend. The Orange scored at least two runs in the first inning of every game. On Sunday, the three through seven hitters of the Orange lineup rallied to push two runs across the plate after Veronica Grant and Daniels, SU’s two best hitters by batting average heading into the weekend, grounded out to start the game.‘We can’t always depend on the meat of our lineup,’ Daniels said. ‘That was really good. It was kind of relaxing (and) took a lot of pressure off.’Kuwik led the Orange with seven RBIs, highlighted by a five-RBI game in game one Saturday. Steph Watts hit her team-leading third home run of the season for the Orange in game two Saturday and finished with five RBIs on the weekend.Watts was also a big part of the five-run fourth inning Sunday. With the bases loaded and one out, the sophomore fought off pitch after pitch. She finally hit a deep fly ball on the 10th pitch of the at-bat to drive in Grant on a sacrifice fly.Her one at-bat was a microcosm of the team’s approach at the plate all weekend. It was something that wouldn’t have been possible without the bottom of the lineup setting the tone.‘She had a runner at third and she wanted to bring her around, so she knew she was looking for a certain pitch,’ Ross said. ‘That’s a good hitter. All the way through the lineup they’re being smart hitters right now.’[email protected]  center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img