Freshman pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti looks to build off 1st appearance

first_imgAnnaMarie Gatti struggled at the beginning and end of her first collegiate start on Friday.But when it was all said and done, Gatti pitched well, allowing only three runs and throwing four shutout innings in between a one-run first and a two-run sixth.Three runs against North Carolina — the offense which leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in runs, batting average, home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage — was a positive for SU head coach Leigh Ross.“I think definitely a growing experience for Anna,” Ross said. “After that first inning — as a growing experience I mean, she was very shaky out there, it was her first time in an ACC game — I thought she handled it well… I was really happy with what she did.”Entering the season, Ross thought she’d have three aces in Gatti, Sydney O’Hara and Jocelyn Cater. But then Gatti, a freshman who came to Syracuse (14-19, 1-7 Atlantic Coast) as the No. 67 recruit in the country, went down with an injury in the fall. O’Hara missed three weeks with an injury until she relieved Gatti in Friday’s game. Cater has been forced to carry the burden — her 100 innings pitched are tied for the most in the ACC.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEven if Gatti’s not at her best, the team will take what it can get, assistant coach Mike Bosch said. Bosch is “pretty positive” that Gatti will throw in the next four or five games. And as she returns, Gatti’s success hinges on regaining timing, changing her style and trusting herself.Syracuse will use its newfound pitching depth when it plays four games in four days. SU travels to Canisius (14-10, 4-0 Metro Atlantic) on Thursday and hosts a three-game series against Pittsburgh (25-14, 6-9) consisting of a Saturday doubleheader at 1 p.m. and a Sunday game at noon.“I hope — fingers crossed — that we’re getting back to full strength with our pitching staff,” Ross said. “It gives us more options and it’s going to let us go deeper. With (Cater) you know what you’re going to get, but you can’t run her into the ground.”Gatti is planned to be a reinforcement for the second game of doubleheaders, Ross said. She’ll provide a change-of-pace arm, which SU can throw at opponents.Her change-up — the reason SU recruited her, Bosch said — and drop-curve contrast with O’Hara’s hard, up and away pitches, Ross said. But those pitches only become effective once Gatti regains her timing, something she said she lacked on Friday, Bosch said, leaving her with the change-up as her only weapon.“In high school… I would have two strikeouts per inning,” Gatti said. “… Going into (UNC), I figured I should have that. Now I’m brought down to earth in that I understand that that’s not going to happen. I have an amazing defense behind me… so I’m going to trust my defense and try to get ground balls.”Bosch has also created a detailed scouting report on each SU match-up. He knows all about the hitters — stances, aggressiveness, who to pitch to with a base open, if they’re a slap hitter — and gives his pitchers video.One of the biggest adjustments for Gatti will be just getting healthy. She’s still babying her foot a bit, but knows she’s capable of performing at a high level.Said Gatti: “I have good enough stuff to compete with anyone.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TRlast_img