Ozanne builds on strong freshman campaign, impressing early in season

first_img Published on February 18, 2014 at 11:40 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Corinne Ozanne is back.The sophomore who led Syracuse in RBIs, tied for the lead in home runs and ranked second in batting average has picked up right where she left off. In three games so far this season, she’s batting .400 and has knocked in four runs. “She’s a smart hitter and can go deep in the count,” SU head coach Leigh Ross said. “She can have two strikes on her, and she’s still going to have a good at-bat.“She’s really good at that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOzanne has factored into both of Syracuse’s wins this season. Batting cleanup, she went 3-for-4 for four RBIs in the Orange’s season-opening win against Austin Peay on Feb. 7, and scored a run against Alabama Birmingham in the team’s 3-2 extra-inning win the day after.After missing the last two games due to an undisclosed injury, she expects to return for the Orange’s five-game slate at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic this weekend.“You could see such a big difference without her out there,” Ross said.In addition to her 11 home runs and 42 RBIs last season, Ozanne boasted a .957 fielding percentage at the hot corner. After earning All-Big East Third Team honors as a freshman, even a switch from third base to shortstop hasn’t fazed her.She said that she feels equally proficient in the field as she does at the plate, something that her approach and offseason training certainly help contribute to.“Hitting is always a tough spot because it’s just a matter of reps and timing,” Ozanne said. “For fielding, it was a lot of agility work and lifting.”Ross noted how some coaches compromise the hitting abilities of middle-of-the-field players for their fielding abilities.In no way does that apply for this middle infielder.“Cory’s definitely not that type of shortstop,” Ross said. “She plays great defense, has great awareness of the field and she’s a great hitter.”For fellow sophomore Danielle Chitkowski, this year’s third baseman, there isn’t a better teammate to share the left side of the infield with.The two have known each other since they came to Syracuse as freshmen, but this year is the first time they are consistently playing together since Chitkowski shuffled from position to position last year. “Me and Cory have really good chemistry,” Chitkowski said. “I’ve never played third before, so having someone who already knows how to play it as well as she did is helping me out a lot.”Despite her exploits, Ozanne still had one worry about her second year with the Orange.“There’s always the thing going through your head about sophomore slump,” Ozanne said. “I’m trying to keep that out of my mind so it doesn’t come about because that would be pretty bad.”Ross rejected the thought of any sort of slump for Ozanne, who received endless praise from the head coach.Sometimes there aren’t words to describe the instincts and natural abilities of a player. That certainly rings true for Ozanne.“There are certain kids who just know how to play the ball every single way,” Ross said. “Without looking, she knows what’s going on on the field.” Chitkowski said Ozanne can play anywhere, and Ross said she’s an anchor in the infield.Whatever she is, the Orange will need her this weekend against two top-15 teams in No. 11 Stanford and No. 13 Oklahoma.Said Ross: “You want to look like you’re in major league baseball.”“Cory plays that way.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more