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ASU Softball: 8th-ranked Arizona State’s defense bounces back to blank Stanford

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Macha and the defense dominated on Saturday

Brady Vernon/House of Sparky

A night after committing six errors in their 4-3 win over Stanford on Friday, the Sun Devils came out and locked down on the diamond.

The night didn’t start well as on the first play junior third baseman Taylor Becerra couldn’t handle the ground ball from the Cardinal’s leadoff hitter Teaghan Cowles. Becerra picked up the ball and handed it to her starting pitcher senior Breanna Macha. And the defense then picked up their pitcher the rest of the way.

Macha and the Arizona State’s (41-9, 14-6) defense shutout Stanford (23-28, 2-18 Pac-12) and cruised to a 8-0 win on Saturday.

In possibly her last regular season start at Farrington stadium, the senior, Macha, shined. The Mesa native went all five innings for Arizona State, allowing only two hits while striking out four batters and keeping the Cardinal off the scoreboard.

“It feels pretty good. It’s senior weekend you want to come out here and have fun,” Macha mentioned about her start. “I think that was the biggest thing. I came out here playing loose and playing my game. It is kind of a reality check for me. Like just go out there and have fun with it.”

“We’re going to miss her when we have to miss her,” Sun Devils head coach Trisha Ford said about her senior. “I don’t want to think about it honestly. She’s put in a lot of time, a lot of work.”

Macha did find herself in trouble in the second inning after allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach second and third base. Becerra and sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez on back-to-back plays to cut down runs at home plate. And freshman catcher Rylee Maston stood tall and absorbed contact on both plays.

On offense, Becerra added three hits, three runs and an RBI. Sophomore right fielder Kindra Hackbarth added a solo home run in the fourth inning. First baseman Danielle Gibson added another team-leading home run to her freshman campaign to put the Sun Devils up 6-0. And three other Sun Devils had RBIs.

Gibson talked about breaking out of her recent struggles at the plate with her home run:

“Cleared my head before that. I had been struggling a little at the plate lately,” she said. “I told myself ‘so what, if they’re going to throw me a change-up I’m going to take it as a compliment.’ I defiantly sticked to my plan right there and it felt good to be back.”

“Look at the season she’s had. It’s impressive. To have a freshman come into my office and say ‘I know I just need to grow up,’ Ford said about Gibson. “You’re just sitting back there going ‘wow,’ you’re pretty special. For you to be able really reflect understand on what’s going on.”

Ford also talked about her team bouncing back after the six errors the night before.

“Back to Sun Devil softball,” she smirked before addressing the difference between Friday and Saturday night. “It’s a between the ears thing. Playing the game the speed it’s supposed to be at. You have to understand the rhythm of the game and make sure you are playing at that same rhythm.”

Arizona State will be honoring their senior class of Macha, Stankiewicz, Dale Ryndak, Brynley Steele, Nichole Chilson and Kwyn Cooper on Sunday. First pitch against the Cardinal will be at 1:00 p.m. PT.