Bryce Holmgren’s struggles continue as her SU career nears an end

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Right from the opening inning, Bryce Holmgren was on the move.She spent most of the first few innings running all around right field as Florida State hit multiple balls down the line.Holmgren made a play in the second inning over in foul territory, racing to the corner to snag the ball and record the first out. Later, she tracked back to the wall to chase down a hit over her head, only for the ball to roll by her after it took an awkward bounce off the wall. Holmgren sprinted forward to try to limit the damage and threw the ball into the infield.Holmgren’s third and final season at Syracuse hasn’t been her best, but she hasn’t changed her approach. On Saturday, Syracuse (21-30, 8-15 Atlantic Coast) gave up seven runs in the fifth inning to lose to No. 5 Florida State (47-8, 18-5) 9-1 in five innings. Holmgren, the Orange’s best hitter entering this season, didn’t record a hit, and her batting average is the lowest of her three seasons for SU. The Orange were blown out again on Saturday, and SU’s offense has been non-existent.“Bryce is a great hitter, this game is this game, and it’s hard sometimes,” Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking said. “Unfortunately, it’s her senior season, and I would have loved to see her go out on a high note, but Bryce’s value is in more than the statistics…We’ve thrown so much at her, and she’s taken it and ran with it.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHolmgren was voted team captain to begin the season, and she’s been a mainstay for the Orange her entire career. As the Syracuse lineup has had multiple players in and out, missing games due to injury, Holmgren is one of just three SU players to play in every single game. Her senior season hasn’t lived up to the expectations she set in her junior year, though. As a junior, Holmgren hit .413 with a 1.049 OPS, both team-highs. She hit in the middle of the SU lineup the entire season, starting all 50 games.In 2019, Holmgren’s spot in the middle of the order hasn’t been secure. Her numbers are down, as she’s hitting .252 with a .733 OPS. She hasn’t been as successful, but Doepking said she’s still having good at-bats, and Holmgren tries to ignore box scores.“Stats are really a mind game,” Holmgren said. “And especially in a sport that’s so resounding with failure. Each at-bat is very specific, very individual.”On Friday, Holmgren hit two hard ground balls off of FSU ace Meghan King, one ground out and one single. She had more experience facing King than the rest of the SU lineup, and knew she had to be aggressive. Holmgren swung at the first pitch both times, making solid contact. Her single broke up King’s no-hitter.“I thought she had competitive at-bats yesterday,” Doepking said on Saturday. “She’s one of one on this team who did, if we’re being honest.”And on Saturday, Doepking moved her up to the three slot in the lineup to reward her aggressive approach. Doepking said Holmgren was the only hitter who competed against King, one of the top pitchers in the nation. But Holmgren failed to register a hit on Saturday, rolling over on two pitches and grounding out in both of her at-bats.After the third inning, Alicia Hansen ran out to her position in center field, and noticed that Lailoni Mayfield and Holmgren switched on either side of her. Mayfield covers more ground in the outfield. Not only was her position in the lineup changed, but her position in the field was, too.Doepking originally moved Holmgren down in the lineup in an attempt to help her see better pitches. The middle of the lineup hitters typically see fewer quality pitches to hit, Doepking said, resulting in fewer chances to break out of the slump.“I haven’t actually been too worried about it,” Holmgren said. “It’s the ability to simplify the game and realize your position in the lineup is only for the first inning.”When Holmgren decided to transfer to Syracuse after her freshman year at Western Kentucky, she understood that her parents wouldn’t be able to make every game. But her parents have driven from Iowa to Skytop Stadium for every weekend home game, her father Kyle said.After Saturday’s game, Kyle kissed his daughter on the side of her forehead, and Holmgren smiled as she walked away from the dugout toward the rest of her family. As Holmgren strolled toward the parking lot with her mom, dad, uncle, aunt and grandmother, she turned around repeatedly, smiling ear-to-ear at her family, especially her two parents, that had traveled 15 hours each weekend for three years to be at every home game.The Holmgren family will be at Skytop Stadium one final time Sunday, and Kyle will be in Tallahassee, Florida for the ACC tournament on Wednesday. He’ll board a plane back to Iowa just a few hours after their opening round game.Kyle said: “I just realized that the window is really, really small.”The window is closing, but it’s not closed yet. Comments Published on May 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected]last_img

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