first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Corinne Ozanne knows where to find the largest number on Syracuse’s stat sheet, no matter which one of her four years at SU she’s talking about.“It wasn’t hits. It wasn’t RBI’s. It wasn’t batting average,” Ozanne said.“It was strikeouts.”In Ozanne’s freshman year, the Orange struck out 400 times — the highest total since she’s been here This year, SU has already struck out 17 more times than its opponents in its first 17 games of 2016.As the Orange (8-9) prepares to face its first Atlantic Coast Conference foe in North Carolina (10-10) after a season in which SU earned its worst conference record (4-13) in Syracuse history, SU head coach Mike Bosch says that fixing his team’s strikeout problem may lead to an overall improvement in ACC play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We take care of that, we can create things offensively,” Bosch said. “I think we got better at it last weekend. I think we have a better idea of the strike zone as it is for each batter.”Syracuse struck out 78 times in its first 13 games this season with two notable outliers. The Orange struck out 13 times in its season-opening win against Long Beach State and 10 times in a loss against Purdue.SU improved last weekend by only striking out 15 times in four games, but that may change with ACC play due to increased competition, according to Bosch.“It’s just a well-balanced, top-to-bottom conference,” Bosch said. “Obviously, since we had seven teams get into the NCAA tournament last year, the NCAA verifies that.”There are signs that SU’s strikeout total may decline in 2016. Syracuse lost one of its leaders in strikeouts, Mary Dombrowski, to graduation. Danielle Chitkowski, who was second on the Orange with 45 strikeouts in 2015, has only struck out seven times this season.Syracuse assistant coach Alisa Goler says she discusses strikeouts with her team every day. But due to the team’s defensive versatility and her strong pitching core, the strikeout total sometimes takes a backseat.“If we’re going to compete and strike out like that,” Goler said, “we’re going to compete and we’re going to strike out. What matters to me is that we’re taking advantage of people in scoring position.”But on multiple occasions, SU has left runners in scoring position due to strikeouts. In SU’s extra-innings victory against Bryant, Hannah Dossett struck out in two consecutive at-bats that left five total runners on base. In a 5-2 loss to California State Northridge on Saturday, Andrea Bombace’s strikeout to end the sixth inning left Sydney O’Hara and Aliyah Wade on first and second base, respectively.Ozanne admits it’s hard to limit strikeouts, especially in a sport where failure is acceptable 70 percent of the time.“It’s all a mind game,” Ozanne said. “I hope the strikeout number goes down, but it’s going to be a big factor.” Comments Published on March 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm Contact Chris: cfthomse@syr.edulast_img

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