Alicia Hansen’s home runs help Syracuse lock down an ACC Tournament berth

first_img Published on April 22, 2018 at 4:04 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34 Alicia Hansen, unlike most athletes, doesn’t worry much about her pregame meal.“I actually had two cupcakes before the game today,” Hansen said. “And that’s all I had.”Nutritious or not, Hansen’s two cupcakes equaled her two home runs, powering Syracuse (26-18, 8-11 Atlantic Coast) past North Carolina State (22-25, 5-15) on Sunday, 7-0. The junior now leads SU with four bombs, all of which have come in SU’s past seven games. On Wednesday, Hansen and Andrea Bombace were responsible for Syracuse’s first multi-home run game of the season in a 7-1 win. On Sunday, Hansen’s pair pushed the Orange ahead, marking SU’s sixth-straight win. The win also clinched SU a birth in the ACC Tournament.“We really are starting to put everything together,” said Alexa Romero, who pitched six scoreless innings on Saturday. “I keep talking about how we all need to get on the same page, and I think we’re really starting to come that way.”Now at home for nearly the remainder of the regular season, Syracuse has rattled off six wins in a row thanks to steady contributions from both its hitting and pitching. In three of the wins during the streak the Orange has scored seven or more runs, while four times SU has held its opponent to one run or fewer.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOne of the main catalysts for Syracuse during the stretch has been its jack-of-all-trades: Hansen. Not only has the junior matched her home run output from her first two seasons combined, but the regular starting centerfielder filled in at shortstop for two games while Sammy Fernandez was out.“This year, it’s her year,” Bombace said. “She’s been having a lot of confidence and I think the No. 1 thing is that she’s always positive.”Hansen’s first home run, an opposite-field shot to right-center, came during SU’s first at bat of the game, giving the Orange a lead it never relinquished. The home run kicked off a four-run first inning.On her second home run, Hansen turned the ball around to left field, missing the scoreboard by inches to push the Syracuse lead to five. Despite a breeze blowing in toward home plate for most of the game, Hansen’s hit had enough to get out, and sparked another good offensive inning for the Orange, which tacked on another run on a Faith Cain single that nearly got out, too.In the fifth inning, Bombace pinch hit for Hannah Dossett, just like she did against Niagara. And just like she did against Niagara on Wednesday, Bombace made an immediate impact, depositing a pitch over the center field wall for a home run. After hitting nine home runs as a freshman, Bombace has become a weapon off the bench as a junior for SU.“I treat the whole game like I’m at bat,” Bombace said. “I watch their pitches, what they get, how they hit the ball, what the result is … so when I get up there I’m more than prepared.”Bombace’s recent tear at the plate (two home runs, a double and five RBI in her last six at bats) is part of Syracuse’s turnaround as a whole, a turnaround that’s coming at an opportune moment for the Orange.Seven games remain for SU, with three coming against North Carolina next weekend. With its ACC Tournament birth locked up and its performance level as high as its been this season, Syracuse is finding its stride at the right time.“It may be a little late, but I’d rather have it late than early,” Hansen said. “I’d rather be pulling it together later than having it early and losing it, because now is when it matters the most.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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