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ASU softball: Devils fight hard in tough opening night loss to Tennessee

Crucial late-innings errors sealed the Devils fate in their home opener

Taylor Becerra (right) looks back from second base.
Brady Vernon

Not every team can start the season 1-0.

No. 19 Arizona State suffered a season-opening 7-4 loss to No. 11 Tennessee in its first game of the Kajikawa Classic.

This loss does not immediately shine a negative light on the Devils. Giselle Juarez struck out 7 batters in five innings on 79 pitches. She said that nothing was missing, though she gave up six earned runs; five of them off the long ball.

“I think they got lucky on a few of my pitches,” Juarez said. “I really trusted my stuff tonight and I think that is the most important thing for me.”

Sun Devil pitching in total struck out 13 of the Lady Volunteer hitters. Breanna Macha pitched two innings of relief and struck out five of the nine batters she faced.

“I just felt comfortable,” Macha said. “Giselle and I talked and we’ve been positive from the get go and us feeding off eachother really helped one another.”

“I think [Juarez and Macha] are a good combo,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought G threw a heck of a game. [Macha] came in and mowed them down.”

Though the pitching did well to limit the Volunteers to just six hits, two home runs — by Scarlet McSwain in the second, and Chelsea Seggem in the third — helped cement Tennessee’s victory. McSwain finished with two hits, three RBIs and one run scored in three at-bats. Seggem’s home run was her only hit.

Sun Devil hitting was not shy tonight either. ASU recorded 11 hits, four of them from transfers, and twin sisters Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth. Maddi made a strong first impression with a long home run to centerfield in the second, and finished with three total RBIs.

“I was so stoked,” Maddi said. “I was just ready, waiting for the cookie, and I saw it and hit it.”

Both Hackbarth sisters transferred from Fresno State, along with centerfielder Morgan Howe. Howe played under coach Ford in 2016 before she became a Sun Devil. Ford showed real excitement out of what the transfers had to offer.

“They came to play,” Ford said. “Maddi had her first at-bat as a Sun Devil and made that ball disappear.”

Both ASU and Tennessee continue in the Kajikawa Classic tomorrow in the mid-afternoon. Tennessee’s first game of their double header will be against Western Michigan at 1:45 p.m. while ASU takes on Purdue at 2 p.m.