Daniels delivers all-around performance for Syracuse in Seton Hall series finale

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 22, 2013 at 1:27 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Standing over the left side of the batter’s box in the bottom of the third inning, Shirley Daniels used the top of her bat to draw a cross in the dirt, the letter “D” in the top-right corner of it. Just two weeks ago, Daniels’ friend died in a car crash. The cross and “D” is a way for her to remember him before each at-bat.Daniels fouled back Seton Hall pitcher Danielle DeStaso’s first offering, then used the second one to honor her friend in an even grander way. Daniels smacked a solo home run that cleared the netting of the outfield wall and landed well behind the fence in right.“I always play for God,” Daniels said. “But today was also in remembrance of him.”After dropping both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Syracuse (17-24, 5-9 Big East) edged Seton Hall (16-24, 4-10) 4-3 at SU Softball Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Daniels’ speed is what makes her a recognized name throughout the Big East, but she showed Sunday she can do more than just run. She delivered not only with her legs but with her bat and glove, as well, to help the team avoid a weekend sweep.Her routine has been one the Orange can rely on.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDaniels led the game with a walk after an eight-pitch at-bat. She then took head coach Leigh Ross’ sign from across the diamond and readied herself to run. When DeStaso tossed her first offering to Veronica Grant, Daniels flew toward second and slid in way ahead of the throw.Safe and untouched.“Shirley comes everyday and wants to produce for us, and today she did a good job,” Ross said. “To know that she can always take second base and we don’t need to give up an out helps our offense out so much.”She’s attempted 26 steals on the season and has been safe every time. Her steal in the first inning on Sunday added to her Big East-leading total, and helped her pass former SU speedster Stephanie Watts for fourth on the program’s all-time, single-season list.“I didn’t know I had that many steals,” Daniels said of her stolen base mark. “26, really? I guess it’s pretty cool to be leading the conference in something.”After starting the game with a walk and a steal, Daniels displayed sure-handedness in the field and a versatile skill set at the plate.“We need someone to step up, and it’s nice to have her doing it,” Grant said. “We definitely needed a spark and she provided that today.”After Kuwik walked Seton Hall shortstop Brittany Hammer with two outs in the top of the third, DeStaso slowly walked to the plate. DeStaso owned SU on Saturday, grabbing a win in game one of the doubleheader and collecting four RBIs on four hits in the two games, including a home run in each.She took the first offering from Kuwik and drove it deep to right field. Daniels tracked the ball while running backward, but it seemed like it would easily clear the fence. Then, she jumped up and grabbed it out of mid-air, pulling the would-be home run back into the field of play just before DeStaso gave the Pirates a two-run lead.As Daniels used the fence to push herself up, the SU crowd erupted and her teammates waited for her at the first-base line.But there was no time for celebration. She was due up first in the bottom of third and hastily grabbed her bat and helmet so she could time DeStaso’s pitches in the on-deck circle.She put the Orange on the scoreboard with her fourth home run of the season.“That catch that she made was incredible,” Ross said. “And then for her to quickly run in and get focused on hitting was even better. Showed how tough she is.” Commentslast_img

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