Senior pitcher Breanna Macha came through again for the No. 16 Sun Devils (14-2) in their 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina (12-6) on Friday night.
Macha did it in an unfamiliar fashion that the Devils have come to know.
The Mesa native struck out 10 Coastal Carolina batters in her seven innings of work against the Chanticleers. Coming into the game, Macha had recorded only 27 strikeouts in her 36 innings of the 2018 season.
“It’s kind of a relief. When I throw my game it’s possible,” Macha said. “A little more confidence.”
“I think Bre[anna] did a good job of finding that zone. It was tough tonight,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought she did a really good job figuring out what it was and working within it. That’s what you’re looking for from a senior, I thought she did a great job.”
The senior faced her most trouble of the night in the fourth inning. Macha started the inning with one of her 10 strikeouts before hitting the next batter she faced. The following Coastal Carolina batters walked and singled to load the bases. With one out, Macha delivered her two biggest strikeouts of the night, getting the Chanticleers’ Timi Tooley and Alexis Alvino to go down on strikes to preserve the shutout.
Tooley and Alvino finally broke through Macha’s dominance in the sixth inning. Tooley drove in the Chanticleers’ first run with a double with two outs. Alvino followed her with an RBI single of her own before Macha collected her ninth strikeout to keep the game at 3-2, Devils.
Arizona State’s offense took advantage of Coastal Carolina’s mistakes early on in the game. Sophomores right fielder Kindra Hackbarth and shortstop Jade Gortarez started the Sun Devils’ first inning with back to back hits. With two outs, freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson was able to draw a walk with Hackbarth scoring on a wild pitch as the fourth ball.
The Sun Devils added two more runs in the second, giving themselves a 3-0 lead. After reaching on a walk, freshman third baseman Bella Loomis scored from first after the Chanticleer’s right fielder Courtney Dean committed an error on a ball hit by Gortarez. Junior center fielder Morgan Howe followed the error with a double, driving in the sophomore shortstop.
Going into the sixth inning with their lead cut to one, the Devils found a much-needed insurance run. Loomis started the inning with a single before ending up at third after stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch. She’d score on an error on a ball sophomore catcher Maddi Hackbarth hit to the third baseman.
The 4-2 seventh inning lead was all Macha needed retiring the final three Coastal Carolina hitters in order.
“Next game against them [Coastal Carolina] we’re going to come out ready to go first pitch,” Loomis said. “I think we lacked that here, but we know we need to go that next game.”
Arizona State will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning with the rematch against the Chanticleers at 4:30 p.m. MT and against New Mexico State at 7:30 p.m. MT.