The 13th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4) lost both games of their doubleheader to open up the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs on Thursday.
Game One: Sun Devils can’t find a clutch it against the Cowgirls.
Arizona State and 20th ranked Oklahoma State (8-3) ended with the same amount of hits in their matchup in California. Although, it was the Cowgirls that were able to produce runs in their 2-0 win.
Redshirt junior Cielo Meza started for the Sun Devils against Oklahoma State, even though she didn’t allowed a hit, she was pulled in the fourth inning. Meza surrendered a total of seven free bags to the Cowgirls. She was able to work around the free passes in her first three innings, but after she hit her second and third batter of the game to start the fourth, she was removed.
Head coach Trisha Ford then gave the ball to freshman righty Abby Andersen. She limited the damage to just one with the help of a double play turned by senior third baseman Taylor Becerra. Oklahoma State’s sophomore right fielder Michaela Richbourg singled up the middle to bring in the game’s first run. ASU was possibly inches away from a scoreless inning, in a video from FloSoftball (embedded below), junior shortstop Jade Gortarez made an incredible effort to nearly stop the ball before it reached the outfield.
Cowgirls are on the board thanks to Michaela Richbourg @CowgirlSB pic.twitter.com/cBKnq8RgQd— FloSoftball (@FloSoftball) February 21, 2019
Richbourg also homered later in the game in the top of the sixth to give Oklahoma State an insurance run. Andersen finished the day having tossed four innings, she gave up five hits and the lone run on Richbourg’s solo home run.
For the offense, it was a day of frustration. The Sun Devils went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Multiple times the opportunity for runs presented itself, but ASU could not cash in. Becerra had the bases loaded in the second inning and had two runners on in the fourth, each time she grounded out with two outs to end the frame.
Senior outfielders Skylar McCarty and Morgan Howe had back-to-back hits with in the fifth, but each were stranded. Junior right fielder Kindra Hackbarth was also left 60 feet away from ASU’s first run early in the game.
Game Two: Red Raiders ride six-run first inning to victory
The Sun Devils jumped right back on the field after the loss to OSU, but the reset button didn’t get hit. No. 23 Texas Tech (11-0) fired up the bats early against ASU’s junior right-handed pitcher Samantha Mejia, before winning 8-0.
Sophomore catcher Kelcy Leach broke the frame open with a three-run home run. Frustrated already, Leach’s first dinger of the season didn’t help the spirits of the Sun Devils. The homer extended Tech’s lead to six, sophomore designated player Trenity Edwards and freshman second baseman Zoe Jones had added three RBIs beforehand.
The Red Raiders added two more runs in the fourth, that eventually cut the game short to five innings via the eight-run rule.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Erin Edmoundson had her way with a recently discouraged Sun Devil lineup. Edmoundson almost no-hit ASU on Thursday, had it not been for a late game single from junior designated player Alli Tatnall, the Devils would’ve been blanked in the scoring and hit column.
Luckily in softball, there’s generally a chance to bounce back quickly. ASU will try to do so on Friday, they’ll have another doubleheader for day two of the Mary Nutter Classic. The Sun Devils will play Nebraska first at 11:00 a.m. and Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m.