Junior left fielder Skylar McCarty stepped into the box in the sixth inning for her first at-bat of the game. With the bases loaded, it was scoreless. McCarty looked to come up big against California’s right-handed pitcher Kamalani Dung.
Dung had been rolling through the Sun Devils’ lineup allowing only two hits up to that point. McCarty took the second pitch she saw from Dung lifting it over the center field fence for a grand slam.
Arizona State (27-4, 5-1 Pac-12) kept Cal (24-8, 1-5) off the board and rode with McCarty’s big-fly as the Sun Devils completed the road sweep in Berkeley with a 4-0 victory on Sunday.
Sun Devils’ head coach Trisha Ford put a lot of faith in her junior outfielder. Before the home run, McCarty had previously been 1-for-17 in her last five games. McCarty came into the game as a defensive replacement for senior left fielder Nichole Chilson in the fourth inning.
The pitching rotation of seniors Dale Ryndak, Breanna Macha, and sophomore Giselle “G” Juarez all saw action in the shut out win on Sunday. Ryndak started the game, but exited it in the third inning, as she loaded the bases full of Golden Bears. Macha came into the circle and got out of the jam on a run-saving play by freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson.
The ability to limit Cal with runners in scoring position was the story for the pitching staff all weekend. A big reason why the Sun Devils didn’t allow an earned run in all three games against the Golden Bears reflects back to Cal going 2-for-28 with RISP.
With the victory, Arizona State now finds themselves atop the Pac-12 standings after the first two weekends of conference play. Although, this is of no shock to coach Ford as she said after the series victory over Washington last week.
“Every series in Pac is big. I think they’re (the Sun Devils) starting to see what we’ve been seeing from a coaching standpoint,” Ford said. “That when we put it together and we play well we can beat whoever we want to. And it’s not about who’s on the other side dugout. It’s about what we are. Who we are. How we play this game and how we execute.”
The Sun Devils return home to Tempe for their last non-conference home games on Friday and Saturday. They’ll face North Dakota State and BYU for four games in two days.