Bryce Holmgren aims to continue hot start, avoid replicating last season’s drop-off

first_img Published on March 5, 2018 at 10:33 pm Contact David: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ When Syracuse needed a hit against Grand Canyon on Feb.18, Bryce Holmgren delivered. Twice.Headed into the bottom of the seventh down two with two outs and runners on the corners, Holmgren singled. The base hit scored Alicia Hansen and Michala Maciolek and evened the score at six.Two innings later, Holmgren was called upon again. After Rachel Burkhardt was placed on second and Hansen lined out to start the bottom of the ninth, Holmgren doubled to left center, her fourth hit of the game, driving in Burkhardt and knotting the score at nine. Syracuse prevailed in 10 innings, 9-8.This season, Holmgren has gone from role player to an integral part of SU’s lineup. The junior leads the Orange (10-6) in batting average (.479), hits (23) and RBI (16), while recording seven multi-hit games. In last season’s first 16 games, Holmgren garnered nearly identically statistics. Last season, she registered 24 hits, 11 RBIs and seven multi-hit games. But in her team’s final 34 contests last season, Holmgren’s production dropped off, and she tallied just 26 hits, striking out 21 times.Holmgren has built on her success from her first year at Syracuse by keeping a disciplined eye at the plate and consistently having runners on base when she is at bat. In her second season with Syracuse, the Roland, Iowa, native wants to avoid a repeat of the second half of last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’ve just tried to stay disciplined,” Holmgren said. “We talk about how you’re going to have more success when you swing at balls that are actually strikes. I try to keep that in mind during all of my at-bats.”Despite the similarities between the openings to her last two seasons, head coach Mike Bosch and Syracuse believe Holmgren will maintain her hot streak rather than suffering a drop-off. Simply having another year of experience seeing pitches, both in live games and practice, and weightlifting will help Holmgren remain consistent, Bosch said.“This is not really unexpected,” Bosch said about Holmgren’s explosive start. “She has a very disciplined eye at the plate, has a good approach when she goes up there and has a nice swing. When you put those three things together, you’re going to have some production.”Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorUnlike in the opening stretch of the 2017 season, Holmgren has stayed away from slumps. Despite her powerful first 16 games last year, she underwent two multi-game hitless streaks during that span. In conference play, Holmgren suffered three more multi-game hitless streaks, while contributing three more multi-hit games in 20 conference matchups. This season, she has yet to endure consecutive hitless games, and has benefited from putting the ball in play as the cleanup hitter.The three batters before Holmgren in SU’s order — Sammy Fernandez, Hansen, and Gabby Teran — rank second through fourth on the team in hits. Their ability to get on base paired with Holmgren’s consistent hitting has meant an abundance of runs for the Orange, which has scored more than six runs seven times this season.“We’ve joked before about how I like being before her because I like to get on base. I tell her all the time, ‘I’m gonna get on now, so you can hit me in when I get there,’” Hansen said. “It feels like a duo. I love when she hits me in.”Serving as the number five hitter last year, Holmgren moved up in the order with the departure of All-American Sydney O’Hara. She started off batting third, but shifted one spot down to account for Teran’s emergence as one of the team’s top hitters. While serving as the cleanup hitter is new to Holmgren, she sees it just like any other position in the order, and “it doesn’t matter where you hit after the first inning,” she said.Although Holmgren’s early-season success the past two years has largely come against weaker competition than ACC teams, her newfound consistency and discipline toward balls and strikes gives Syracuse a reason to believe her hot streak will continue.“She takes her craft very seriously, she’s a professional hitter, so to speak,” Bosch said. “For her to come out and start the season like this, I’m not surprised at all.” Commentslast_img

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