After walk-off heroics last night, the No. 8 Sun Devils (35-8, 9-5 Pac-12) failed to capitalize in several situations Saturday afternoon. This in large part due to poor plate discipline.
Contrary to last night, where two hits was all the Devils needed, two hits only resulted in one run and a 4-1 loss to No. 13 Arizona (30-13, 7-10).
Senior starter Breanna Macha threw a complete game for the Devils. She allowed eight hits, four runs (three earned), three walks and struck out four on 131 pitches. She is now 10-5 on the season. A quality start for her but with not enough support from her offense.
“It’s part of the game,” Macha said. “Hits are gonna come, hits are gonna go. I think that’s our biggest thing is just keeping consistent and getting up there every inning and just battling.”
The two hits today came from the bats of freshman DeNae Chatman, who singled in the fourth inning, and junior center fielder Morgan Howe, who sent a screaming liner over the centerfield fence. The home run puts Howe at six on the season.
More interviews @Pac12Network? @morgannnriley goes YARD to get the Sun Devils on the board pic.twitter.com/lRDOtsCu1R— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) April 21, 2018
“I saw a cookie,” Howe said. “Building off my previous at-bat I just wanted to get a better pitch to hit and that was the one.”
As the game went on, the frustration grew for the offense, particularly in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, freshman catcher Rylee Maston led off with a hit by pitch. Freshman third basemen Bella Loomis then flied out. A patient at-bat from sophomore right fielder Kindra Hackbarth got her on base. ASU had its first runner in scoring position.
Back-to-back groundouts however would quickly end the threat on a total of three pitches. ASU had the tying run at the plate in both of those at-bats.
In the sixth inning, freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson reached on an error by Wildcats first baseman Alyssa Palomino. After two quick outs, junior left fielder Skylar McCarty walked putting runners on first and second. With a chance to light a spark, senior Kwyn Cooper was called upon to pinch hit. Unfortunately she failed to produce when she struck out on four pitches.
“We just have to string more hits together and back up our pitcher,” Chatman said. “Just have more energy throughout the whole game.”
Head coach Trisha Ford was simple when asked about the difference between today and yesterday.
“Offensively in the box, we didn’t cut it at all,” She said. “I think we took some things for granted. I don’t know, but our plate discipline today was not good.”
ASU has a chance to come back tomorrow and take the series against the territorial rival. They will seek their 10th conference win. First pitch at 5 p.m. tomorrow and can be viewed on Pac-12 Network.