Two big innings mixed with a solid performance from freshman pitcher Abby Andersen allowed No. 13 Arizona State (12-4) to throttle Cal Poly (3-10) 11-1 in five innings during the Devils’ final game of the Mary Nutter Classic.
In the first inning, ASU brought the offense early and often. The Sun Devils dropped four runs in the inning, and the big blast of the frame came off the bat of junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth. She hit a three-run homer to give the team a 4-0 lead. Freshman first baseman Denae Chatman was responsible for the other RBI in the inning on a single to left field.
ASU added lone runs in the third and fourth before delivering the knockout punch in the fifth, when the team scored five runs to close things out.
Among a long list of offensive standouts, senior center fielder Morgan Howe was 4-4 with two RBI’s, sophomore right fielder Kindra Hackbarth was 2-4 with three RBI’s, and the middle infield tandem of sophomore second baseman Bella Loomis and junior shortstop Jade Gortarez accounted for two hits a piece.
Chatman had two hits as well, and five different Sun Devils had multi-hit games. The offensive barrage accounted for 14 hits in a five inning, shortened game.
As for the pitching duties, Andersen locked things down with an efficient five-inning outing. She allowed just one run on four hits while striking out three batters.
In the team’s first game action away from the confines of Farrington Stadium, ASU went 4-2 on the weekend, and they responded from two losses on the first day of the tournament. It should be a happy trip back to Tempe as the Devils will get ready for more action next weekend in the Sun Devil Classic.
ASU plays two games against Princeton, one game against Wisconsin, and two more games against No. 11 Texas in what is sure to be yet another tough preseason opponent. ASU will also face some familiar faces, as the Longhorns are now coached by former Oregon head coach Mike White.
Along with White, four former Oregon players transferred over to Austin this offseason, creating a matchup that is somewhat reminiscent of last year’s opening game of the Women’s College World Series between ASU and Oregon.
Of course, a lot of things have changed since that time as well. Nonetheless, it should be yet another weekend of high-caliber softball come next weekend.