In day two of the Mary Nutter Classic, Arizona State (10-4) won two one-run games to return to their winning ways.
Game One: Howe, McCarty lead comeback over the Cornhuskers
Senior outfielders Morgan Howe and Skylar McCarty hold a ton of leadership on their shoulders, but on Friday afternoon they also had to carry the offense. Howe and McCarty drove in all six of Arizona State’s runs in their come from behind 6-5 victory over Nebraska (8-4).
With the ASU bats in a rut in Palm Springs, California for the Mary Nutter Classic, Howe and McCarty stepped up when they needed to. The Sun Devils were down 5-1 in the fifth inning, with the lone run from McCarty’s first inning RBI double. A spark was needed for ASU, and it was started from three straight free passes from McCarty, sophomore second baseman Bella Loomis and junior right fielder Kindra Hackbarth.
Howe then stepped up to the plate with redemption on her mind after she committed an error that let two Nebraska runs score earlier in the game. Redeemed she was, Howe sent her second home run of the season, her first since the season opener versus Western Michigan, for a grand slam to tie the game.
MORGAN HOWE WITH THE GRAND SLAM!— FloSoftball (@FloSoftball) February 22, 2019
Tying it up against the Huskers in the 5th
The sixth inning started with a double by Loomis. It was now McCarty’s turn for a clutch moment. McCarty singled to bring home Loomis and give ASU its first lead since the first inning.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Mikayla Santa Cruz then shut the door on the Huskers in the top of the seventh to get ASU back in the win column.
Game Two: ASU scrapes by Texas A&M
Freshman right-handed pitcher Abby Andersen gritted out a complete game for the Sun Devils in their 5-4 win over Texas A&M (9-4).
The Aggies tried to claw their way back into the game, inning by inning. In the sixth inning, A&M sent the tying run to the plate on a single up the middle from junior center fielder Kelbi Fortenberry, however, Howe threw out sophomore shortstop Ashlynn Walls at the plate to conserve the one-run lead.
A&M scored one in the second, two in the third and one in the fifth. Andersen finished the night having allowed four runs (two unearned) on nine hits. The freshman also picked up her first win of the night.
The Sun Devils sent a pair of home runs off of A&M’s junior right handed pitcher Kendall Potts in the second inning. Junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth led off the frame with a solo home run. Loomis continued her nice day at the plate with a two-run dinger to finish off the frame and extend ASU’s lead to three.
With the game tied at three at the third, ASU came back on offense to get the lead back for their pitcher. The Sun Devils walked four straight times to net Kindra Hackbarth a RBI. McCarty then picked up her third RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to make the game 5-3.
Five runs was all Andersen and the defense needed to close a bounce back day for the Devils.
The Sun Devils only have one game on Saturday when they take on Bethune-Cookman at 9:00 p.m. in Palm Springs.