Syracuse’s freshmen have ‘stepped up’ in the season’s first half

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: March 27 at 3:30 p.m.Last season, then-junior Faith Cain started at first base. Rounding out the infield was then-sophomore Alicia Hansen at second, then-junior Sammy Fernandez at shortstop and then-sophomore Hannah Dossett was at third.Then, this year’s freshman class took over, leaving only Fernandez in her former spot.Second baseman Gabby Teran forced Alicia Hansen’s move to center field. Neli Casares-Maher took over third base and former third-baseman Dossett now shares first base with freshman Lailoni Mayfield.Teran, Casares-Maher and Mayfield, along with two more freshmen, have had notable playing time for the Orange (15-11, 4-5 Atlantic Coast). Freshmen have accounted for more than a third of Syracuse’s RBIs and hits as well as 30 percent of the runs. Each has played in more than half the games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We recruit people who I think are capable of playing when they come in,” SU head coach Mike Bosch said. “It’s just a matter of how quickly they develop and mature and all of them really stepped up.”Starting all 26 games this season, Teran has made an impact at the plate. Third on the team in batting average (.280) among players with more than 50 at-bats, the Atlanta native hit fourth in all three games against Florida State last weekend.In SU’s 12-0 win over Virginia on March 16, Teran led the team with three runs, including the first two of the game. Teran, who went deep against Cal Poly on Feb. 19, is one of two Syracuse batters to hit a homerun this season.“I think that the freshmen this year are the most athletic group of freshmen that I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Hansen said.Casares-Maher, a native of Orange, California, has started 24 games at third-base, tallying 15 hits and driving in seven runs to date. She’s also tied for third on the team with four doubles.Mayfield is another California native and added another left-handed bat to the Syracuse lineup. She started off the season with two hits against UT Arlington. Mayfield, listed as a utility player, has spent time at first base and designated hitter. She has started 19 games for the Orange.“(Starting) was always a goal that I would work toward,” Mayfield said. “It definitely wasn’t expected.”Miranda Hearn and Michala Maciolek don’t contribute as much at the plate as the other freshmen. Instead, Hearn has become an option in the circle and Maciolek has played 15 games at catcher, starting 14 of them. She’s thrown out one runner stealing and batted .212.Hearn came to Syracuse as both a pitcher and a hitter. As a pitcher, she has thrown 22 innings over 11 games. Most of the time, she comes in as a reliever for sophomore Alexa Romero or senior AnnaMarie Gatti.On March 18 against Virginia, Hearn recorded her first start. Pitching the first three innings, she struck out five batters and allowed two runs before Gatti came in as relief.“Being that she’s a freshman,” Bosch said, “we’ve really tried to give her a few more opportunities to get out of different situations in practice, and I think it’s helped.”Hearn is also used on occasion as a designated or pinch hitter. Against Sacramento State, she drove in a career-high three runs. While she’s only recorded eight hits this season, Hearn’s also driven in six RBI. She is second in on-base percentage for batters with 30 or more at-bats.Syracuse’s season is more than halfway done and the freshmen have been a big part of SU’s overall winning record. They’re doing what Bosch expected them to do when he recruited them.“They’re holding their own,” Romero said. “Every day they’re getting better.” Comments Published on March 27, 2018 at 7:59 am Contact Kaci: klwasile@syr.edulast_img