A night removed from only having hits from senior center fielder Morgan Howe and junior right fielder Kindra Hackbarth, seven Arizona State (6-2) batters had hits against Central Michigan (4-5) on Saturday. The Sun Devils earned their sixth victory of the season with a 8-2 win over the Chippewas.
Of ASU’s 10 hits, only two came the way of the long ball. Both home runs belonged to sophomore first baseman DeNae Chatman. After two first inning runs by Central Michigan, Chatman sent a ball toward the Farrington Stadium sign in left field for a two-run home run to tie the game at two.
Chatman had her second home run of the day and third of the season in the fourth inning with a solo shot. She finished with four RBIs on Saturday, she also added a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
After going 0 for 3 against Florida on Friday, Chatman talked about her bounce back game:
“I was trying to forget yesterday,” Chatman said. “And just staying within my bubble, and looking for my pitch and attacking strikes.”
“DeNae Chatman today, good lord, have a day,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “She’s still only a sophomore, which I’m very happy for. She had a great day — today she had some big balls, like I said she’s just a sophomore and she’s just got so much more room to grow. I’d hate to pitch to her.”
Chatman may have had the headline day at the plate, but plenty of other Sun Devils were in on the action. Senior left fielder Skylar McCarty gave ASU its first lead in the second with her RBI double. Sophomore second baseman Bella Loomis added two RBIs herself, along with a hit. Despite being only one of two Sun Devil starters to not notch a hit against the Chippewas, Hackbarth drove a run in with a sacrifice fly.
The Sun Devils scored two runs in each of the game’s first four innings, Ford talked about the contagious hitting ASU had on Saturday:
“Hitting is contagious,” she said. “When things get rolling, that’s what I talked about after the game, you know by [junior shortstop] Jade [Gortarez] taking that extra bag, that backside runner can also take that backside bag. Then a base hit scores two instead of just one. That’s the fun part of the game, I thought they just did a really great job.”
In the circle, junior right-handed pitcher Samantha Mejia delivered her first complete game as a Sun Devil. Mejia had a rocky start, two free passes and two hits by the Chippewas in the first inning netted them their two runs. However, Mejia rebounded and tossed six straight scoreless innings the rest of the way.
“My pitches weren’t moving as much as they should have. I talked to [catcher] Maddi [Hackbarth] and we found a way to do what I needed to do to get my pitches to move,” said Mejia on her adjustments after the first inning.
She continued about how eight runs of support bolstered her confidence:
“It’s honestly amazing, just to take a deep breath. And have the time [between innings] to refocus and get going,” she said.
The Sun Devils will finish the Littlewood Classic on Sunday with a doubleheader. They take on the Utah State Aggies at 1:30 p.m., followed by a 4:30 p.m. matchup with the San Diego Toreros.