Larkin, Clermont look to improve behind O’Hara in Syracuse rotation

first_img Published on March 26, 2014 at 1:30 am Contact Connor: | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse ace Sydney O’Hara has been masterful on the mound this season, but for a team boasting a 5.02 earned run average, its pitching depth is questionable.The Orange’s pitching staff features only one player with a winning record, with every starting pitcher not named O’Hara only having one win apiece. When the freshman O’Hara isn’t on the mound, SU head coach Leigh Ross has mainly turned to sophomore Lindsey Larkin and freshman Christina Clermont. But the opposition is hitting an alarming .311 against those two pitchers. On paper, the situation looks bleak. Ross insists it’s not necessarily a depth issue with the staff, but instead that SU’s (12-15, 5-4 Atlantic Coast) second and third starter could use a dose of confidence.“I think it’s more of a confidence and experience issue,” Ross said. “Sydney’s just been thrown out there as a freshman and is learning on the fly, while (Larkin and Clermont) haven’t gotten as many chances.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“So now they’re just starting to go through that learning curve.”With the competitiveness and parity within the ACC, SU doesn’t have time to conquer too big of a learning curve. Larkin made only the fifth start of her career against Georgia Tech on Saturday, and surrendered seven earned runs in two and two-thirds innings. In the first game of the doubleheader, O’Hara was able to contain the Yellow Jackets’ offense to four runs in a complete-game effort.Like the freshmen, Larkin is also adapting, as she is working to implement a rise ball to counteract the drop ball in her repertoire. And Ross dubbed Larkin’s drop ball as potentially the best pitch from anyone on the staff.“I’m dominantly a drop ball pitcher, but you can’t live off of one pitch,” Larkin said. “I had to learn the rise ball this year so I can try to throw the hitters off.”Larkin admitted that when she is hit hard, the drop ball usually isn’t dropping and is left hanging over the plate. But when the drop ball is effective, she induced groundball outs. Against Georgia Tech, five of eight outs Larkin recorded were via the groundball, and Ross and pitching coach Jenna Caira both said other balls were hit on the ground. Larkin was getting the job done, but was getting hit where defenders weren’t. Clermont has been thrust onto the collegiate stage in her first season, and her statistics reflect just that. While making 10 starts — the second most on the team behind O’Hara — her 8.01 ERA in 50.2 innings has been less than impressive.Caira believes Clermont needs to work on her mental toughness at times, but has the stuff to compete. Featuring a screwball as a right-handed pitcher, the pitch actually breaks inside to a right-handed hitter, a useful weapon when executed properly.“I think she needs a little more success in some easier innings,” Caira said. “Against Georgia Tech, she had one really good inning where she utilized her entire defense, an important part of our pitching philosophy.”Both Clermont and Larkin will need to improve their performances if SU is to reach new heights in the ACC. Ross believes she has unlocked somewhat of a secret with her pitching staff. She will look to bring in the junk-ball-throwing Larkin to replace the hard-and-fast throwing O’Hara to give opponents a different look from the batter’s box.And to make this plan effective, Ross had a few words of advice to provide to her pitchers looking to throw their way out of a slump during practice.“Stop thinking and analyzing so much,” Ross said. “Throw hard, be real loose and who cares where it goes.” Commentslast_img read more

Faith Cain records third-straight multi-hit game in 8-1 victory over Binghamton

first_imgWhether it be “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra, “The Recipe” by Kodak Black, or “What Dreams Are Made Of” by Hilary Duff, Syracuse walk-up songs vary. No song, however, is as boisterous as Faith Cain’s selection.“AAAAAAHHHH, tear it up, Lemme see you tear it up,” booms through the speakers. “All across the board we gon’ tear it up. We gon’ bounce it till the beat cut off.”“Yes,” Cain said when asked if “Tear It Up” by Yung Wun is meant to intimidate pitchers. “I love my walk-up song.”In Syracuse’s last three games, Cain has proved that opposing pitchers should be concerned when she is at the plate, and not for the rambunctious rap lines that come before she steps foot in the batter’s box. Cain hit safely in the five-straight games leading up Tuesday, including two consecutive multi-hit games.Cain continued her hot streak at the plate, tallying two hits and two RBI to lead Syracuse (27-18, 8-11 Atlantic Coast) over Binghamton (11-21, 4-7 America East), 8-1, for the Orange’s seventh-straight victory, which have all come at Skytop Softball Stadium. After recording five hits in her first 18 appearances this season, Cain has been at the center of SU’s newfound offensive success which has helped the Orange clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament on Sunday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor the second-straight game, Alexa Romero struck out the side in the top of the first inning, and the Orange scored four runs in the bottom of the inning. Cain’s first plate appearance came with the bases loaded after two walks and a hit by pitch from Binghamton starting pitcher Rayn Gibson. Cain lined a double to right field, giving the Orange its first runs of the game.When the ball shot off Cain’s bat, it looked as if the senior would be celebrating her first home run of the season. It fell just short, though, hitting the top of the right field wall. After crushing six long balls last season, the second-highest mark on the team, Cain has struggled to send the ball deep this year. She had just two extra base hits on the season before Tuesday’s game.“I was hoping it was out, I haven’t had a really solid hit in a while,” Cain said. “It was nice. I just wish it would’ve gone over.”Cain’s two-run double sparked two more first-inning runs from the Orange. Michala Maciolek eventually drove in Cain with a single up the middle to give SU an early four-run lead. Once Binghamton relieved Gibson with Makenzie Goluba after the first inning, Syracuse’s hitters struggled to adjust.In the third, Cain led off the inning with a line drive up the middle. It was her second hard-hit ball of the day, something she has constantly produced during her now six-game hit streak. Cain’s recent consistency can be credited to her stellar work ethic, shortstop Sammy Fernandez said.“During the game, me and Hannah (Dossett) looked at each other and said, ‘we love when Faith does good,’” Fernandez said. “She’s probably the hardest worker on this team. I’ll be walking through Manley and she’ll be in the cage working. It’s just great to see her succeed on the field.”Although Cain failed to add another hit in her final two plate appearances, she posted two quality at-bats. Down two strikes in the fourth, Cain fouled off a pitch to keep the at-bat alive. The next pitch, Bearcat pitcher Rozlyn Price pelted Cain in the arm to load the bases. During her final at-bat in the fifth, the Omaha, Nebraska, native drilled the ball to third base, where Kate Richard made a difficult play to gather and tag the baserunner to end the inning.Although Cain’s start to the season did not go as expected, SU head coach Mike Bosch said, the senior is rounding into form at the right time. Her recent stretch boosted her batting average to .350, the second-highest mark on the team.“She’s been sharp at the plate, hitting pitches that are hittable, stepping up in situations, handling the moment,” Bosch said. “That’s really big because we’ll need her the next couple of weeks.” Comments Published on April 24, 2018 at 8:23 pm Contact David: Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Gill and Jones lead English challenge in Portgual

first_img Tags: Amateur, Mens, Portuguese 18 Feb 2018 Gill and Jones lead English challenge in Portgual England players, led by Bailey Gill and Ben Jones, put on an impressive performance in the Portuguese amateur men’s championship at the Montado golf resort, taking 10 of the top 20 places.Gill, from Lindrick, Yorkshire, and Jones, from Northamptonshire County, were joint runners-up alongside Denmark’s Sebastian Friedrichsen on 12-under par. The championship was won by Portugal’s Victor Lopes on 15-under.Gill birdied the last for a closing round of two-under 70, while Jones (pictured) charged up the leaderboard with his bogey-free 64.Three other English players completed top 10 finishes: Thomas Plumb (Sherborne, Dorset) was sixth on 10-under, after signing off with 66; Josh McMahon (Wallasey, Cheshire) was ninth on eight-under and Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton, Northamptonshire) was 10th on seven-under.Behind them were another five English players in the top 20: Conor Gough (Stoke Park, BB&O), Jason Stokes (La Moye, Jersey), Jake Bolton (Ogbourne Downs, Wiltshire), Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire) and Tom Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge, Somerset).Gill, Jones, McMahon and Sloman are members of the England Golf Men’s A Squad, while Williams and Goddard are in the Boys’ Squad.Image copyright Leaderboard Photographylast_img read more

Tiger matches worst score in a major

first_imgARDMORE, Pa. (AP) — This isn’t the kind of record Tiger Woods had in mind at the U.S. Open.Woods went out-of-bounds on his second tee shot of the final round at Merion and closed with a 4-over 74. That gave him his worst 72-hole score as a pro in the U.S. Open, and it tied for his high score in any major.“I did a lot of things right,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong, as well.”Woods finished at 13-over 293.His previous high score in a U.S. Open was 290 at The Olympic Club in 1998 and Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Woods shot 294 at Oakland Hills in 1996 as an amateur.Just two days ago, Woods was four shots out of the lead and very much in the hunt to end his five-year drought in the majors. Then, he went 76-74 for his worst weekend in a major championship. Just over two weeks ago, the world’s No. 1 player had won three of his last four events on the PGA Tour and was starting to establish his dominance.But he looked ordinary at Merion.Starting the final round 10 shots behind, Woods made a birdie putt on the opening hole. Instead of a fist pump, he offered only a mild wave. Whatever hopes he had of at least getting his name on the leaderboard ended quickly. Woods pushed his tee shot to the right on the par-5 second hole, over the trees and out-of-bounds. His next tee shot was close to going out-of-bounds, stopping a few yards away in front of a tree. He wound up with a triple bogey.It was his only big number of the week, though his 20 bogeys were startling.“I struggled with the speed all week,” Woods said. “These greens are grainy. It’s one of the older bent grasses — creeping bent. I struggled with the speed, especially right around the hole. Putts were breaking a lot more. I gave it a little more break and then it would hang. That’s kind of the way it was this week.”The 293 matched his high score at any major, last year at the Masters when he tied for 40th.Woods did not mention any pain in his left elbow, though he kept that a mystery throughout the week. He was flexing and shaking his left hand on shots out of the rough early in the week, saying only that it was painful. He later revealed that he first hurt it at The Players Championship last month, which he won. But he didn’t mention the shot or even which round it happened.Merion remained a mystery for Woods throughout the week. For the first time since Olympic in 1998 — the year he was rebuilding his swing — he failed to break par in any of the four rounds at a U.S. Open.“It played tricky. The rough was up,” Woods said. “They were raking the rough up every morning into the grain, and the pins were really tough.”Woods plays again in two weeks at the AT&T National at Congressional, where he is the defending champion. His next major is the British Open at Muirfield, where in 2002 he was going for the calendar Grand Slam until he got caught in a vicious weather pattern of a cold, sideways rain and shot 81 to fall from contention. The final major of the year is at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship, where 10 years ago Woods never shot better than 72 and wound up at 12-over 292.“There’s always a lesson to be learned in every tournament, whether you win or lose,” Woods said. “I’ll look back at the things I did right and the things I did wrong.” Tiger Woods acknowledges the gallery after putting on the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Saturday, June 15, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Tiger Woods hits down the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Ardmore, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Woods matches worst score in a majorlast_img read more

Pitt’s Donald named ACC Defensive Player of the Year

first_imgPittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald (97) in action in an NCAA football game between Pittsburgh and North Carolina, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)PITTSBURGH—Pitt senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the national leader in tackles for loss, has been selected the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association (ACSMA).This is the latest honor for Donald, who earlier this week was named first team All-ACC by ACSMA. The Pittsburgh native is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.Donald led the ACC Defensive Player of the Year balloting with 44 votes. Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock followed with 10, and Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner placed third with eight votes. Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis received two votes, while Florida State safety Terrence Brooks had one.“There are some great defensive players in the ACC, so to be selected for this award is a tremendous honor,” Donald said. “I would like to thank my Pitt coaches and teammates because they share in this award. I’d also like to thank ACSMA for recognizing not only me but also Pitt with this honor.”The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald is the Panthers’ first conference player of the year since 2010 when end Jabaal Sheard, now of the Cleveland Browns, was named the Big East’s top defensive player.One of the most disruptive players in the country, Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss (2.2 per game), while ranking 12th in forced fumbles (tied, 0.33 per game) and 16th in sacks (tied, 0.83 per game). Perhaps his most impressive statistic this season: of his 54 total tackles, nearly half have been behind the line of scrimmage (26.5).A graduate of Penn Hills High School, Donald has 28.5 sacks for his collegiate career, the second most among active players and the highest total by an interior lineman.Donald’s senior year production compares remarkably with former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who swept the Lombardi, Outland, Bronko Nagurski and Bednarik awards in 2009 and was also a Heisman Trophy finalist.Through 12 games, Donald has 26.5 TFLs and 10 sacks. Suh had 20.5 TFLs and 12 sacks in 14 games.Aaron Donald (Courier Photo/William McBride/File)Donald will be attending three national awards functions next week.On Monday, Dec. 9, he will be in Charlotte, N.C., for the presentation of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player. Donald is one of five finalists for the honor, joining Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Donald will be in Houston, Texas, for the Rotary Lombardi Award banquet, which honors college football’s top lineman or linebacker. The other finalists are Mosley, Sam and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.On Thursday, Dec. 12, Donald will attend ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards telecast from the Dance Hall on the Disney Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Donald is a finalist for two awards that will be presented on the show (which airs from 7 to 9 p.m.): the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the college defensive player of the year, and Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best offensive or defensive interior lineman.Donald is one of three finalists for each award. The other Bednarik finalists are Barr and Mosley. Donald’s competition for the Outland Trophy includes Texas A&M senior offensive tackle Jake Matthews and Baylor senior offensive guard Cyril Richardson.last_img read more