first_imgIn 2013, pitching was a glaring weakness for Syracuse.But that’s no longer the case, as the Orange’s pitching staff has potential to carry the team this year. With the return of junior Lindsay Taylor and the addition of freshmen Christina Clermont and Jordyn White, head coach Leigh Ross has several arms she can trust.“We have depth on the mound and coming off last year when we were thin, that’s really nice,” Ross said. “We have three No. 1s and can throw different kids depending on the strengths of the opponent.”The Orange will need all the help it can get on the mound, as its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference will result in much tougher competition day in and day out.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse won’t take long to test its pitching against ranked opponents, as Syracuse takes on No. 22 South Alabama twice this weekend, and will also face No. 25 Alabama-Birmingham. Both games are part of the Mardi Gras Invitational in Mobile, Ala.“I think it’s really big to prove to everyone that we’re the same as one of those big name teams,” senior first baseman Jasmine Watson said. “In the past, we haven’t made it very far, but it’s really important to prove that we’re coming out and winning.”The Orange will need pitching to do so.With more flexibility on the hill, Ross isn’t pressed to force one pitcher to go an entire game if she doesn’t need to.Having four games in the first two days of the season, the Orange will want to use more than one arm. With that said, there likely won’t be any drop-off in production from starters to relievers.“We can change things up in the middle of the game and still be strong,” Ross said. “That will keep us in every game.”It’s a luxury the Orange wasn’t afforded with last year. Its two primary pitchers, graduated Stacy Kuwik and Taylor, amassed a combined 304 innings compared to the 40.2 innings pitched by the other three pitchers on the roster.Not only is this year’s staff a deeper unit, but it has also demonstrated great cohesiveness throughout the preseason.“We have great chemistry, and we all work really well together,” Clermont said. “If we need a pitcher to open or close, we don’t have a problem, so that’s really important especially as a pitching staff.”Clermont will be thrust into a significant role as a freshman, and Ross said to expect her to see significant innings as a starter.Watson mentioned how it will be the responsibility of her and the other upperclassmen to make sure that the freshmen playing big roles are prepared mentally and emotionally.“Our weakness is that we have a lot of young girls, so it’s going to be a little tough to keep their mindset focused,” Watson said. “It’s a different environment, but the biggest thing is for the upperclassmen to keep them focused on our end goal.”The journey to that end goal starts Friday, and the team’s biggest strength is ready to try and be the catalyst of a Syracuse softball success story.Said Ross: “We have pitching.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 6, 2014 at 12:50 am Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidmanlast_img

Syracuse looks for improved pitching after struggling on mound last season

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