Jocelyn Cater pitches Syracuse to 1st conference win over North Carolina in 1st game of doubleheader

Jocelyn Cater pitches Syracuse to 1st conference win over North Carolina in 1st game of doubleheader

first_imgJocelyn Cater turned to look at the scoreboard at SU Softball Stadium while digging her cleats into the dirt of the pitching circle.Only needing one more out to close the upset over Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse North Carolina, Cater hunched her shoulders and turned back around to focus in on catcher Julie Wambold.She forced Kristen Brown to hit a high fly ball to centerfield for the final out to end the game. Cater pounded her glove and proceeded to join the mass of her teammates gathering just off of home plate to celebrate.“I’m happy with the way I pitched,” Cater said. “They’re a good team, but we were prepared.”Syracuse (14-19, 1-7 ACC) defeated UNC (26-10, 10-3) 4-2 behind a dominating performance by Cater who struck out eight in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader. The Orange lost the second game 6-2.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe win was Cater’s 10th win of the season, her 12th complete game and gave SU its first conference win. The Tar Heels entered the game with seven starters hitting .322 or better – three of those seven hitting above .400 – but only mustered three hits.The potent offense was effectively shut down all game long. Other than two solo home runs, UNC couldn’t figure Cater out and seemed overmatched by her fastball and perplexed by her off-speed pitches.“What I do best is an up-ball and frequent change,” Cater said. “That was the game plan and that was what worked the best today.”Cater was locked into the game from the very start, setting the Tar Heels down one-two-three in the first inning with two strikeouts. When Cater struggled to find the zone at times throughout the afternoon, she managed to settle down following walks. She allowed six walks, but found the zone again at the right time and stranded seven runners on base.North Carolina’s premier power hitter, Brown, couldn’t figure Cater out all afternoon. The junior shortstop leads the nation with 17 home runs was hitting just under .400 entering the day, but Cater struck her out once and held her hitless in four at-bats.“We came in with a really good game plan,” Cater said. “…We’ve got to see a lot of their games online and seen them do a lot of different stuff. I think that just helped us prepare for what team we were going after.”The ability to mix pitches throughout different counts is what made Cater so successful, head coach Leigh Ross said. The junior’s rise pitch was working really well and accounted for a few strikeouts where hitters chased balls out of the zone.Five of Cater’s strikeouts came from UNC hitters swinging at rise balls above the strike-zone.The Orange offense supported Cater by producing a pair of two-run home runs in the early innings. On the first pitch of Wambold’s at-bat in the second inning, she rocketed a two-run blast that landed in the trees in centerfield. Corinne Ozanne added two runs of her own to bring Syracuse’s lead to 4-1 in the third inning.“As pitchers, I know that they are thrilled when there are runs on the board because they can relax,” Ozanne said. “It’s very important for the offense to help out their pitchers.”Pitching with the lead allowed her to work hitters deeper into counts and try to get the Tar Heel hitters to swing at pitches outside of the zone.In the top of the fifth inning, North Carolina’s Jenna Kelly rocketed a towering foul ball that, if fair, had the distance to be a home run. Cater eventually got Kelly to strikeout swinging.Before she met her teammates on the field to celebrate the win, Cater let a smile creep across her face. The Orange finally had its elusive conference win.“She did an awesome job,” Ross said. “She’s doing a good job of staying focused on the task at hand and just worrying about just one pitch at a time.” Comments Published on April 3, 2015 at 9:51 pm Contact Liam: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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