The Sun Devils had only given up three hits through three innings. However, two of those three hits by Missouri went the distance to put the Tigers up seven. Eventually on Thursday, Missouri (2-0) finished off No. 12 Arizona State (1-1) 8-0 in five innings.
“It wasn’t our best tonight, I think we can all agree with that,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “But we still had a chance, we had some loud outs and they just kept going right at somebody. Then as the game went on, I felt like our approach kind of changed a little bit. I know we’re capable of playing a much better game than that, that to me is more disappointing than the outcome. I thought we lost some of our fight.”
Missouri got things started quickly in the first inning, after a hit, a walk and a hit batter, freshman designated player Geana Torres stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Torres didn’t miss any of the pitch from redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Cielo Meza, as the freshman sent it flying over the right field fence for a grand slam.
The second home run came off the bat of sophomore Callie Martin in the third inning. Meza gave up two free passes in the frame. Meza then left a pitch in a spot she probably wanted back, Martin sent it flying for a three-run home run to solidify the Tigers’ lead.
They added one more in after three hits and a sacrifice fly brought in the eight run of the night. Meza finished her first start going four innings, she allowed eight runs on five hits and four walks.
Even with Meza’s struggles, there was a bright spot in the circle. Freshman right-hander Mikayla Santa Cruz got her first collegiate experience with her inning of work. She allowed two hits, but no runs allowed.
Ford made a comment on her entire pitching staff after the game:
“It’s day one, and it’s a long season. We’re all trying to figure out our pace and kind of our rhythm. I think there was a lot of good stuff and there was some things that need a lot of improvement,” she said.
The offense for the Devils couldn’t match their production from the first game of the doubleheader. ASU only had four hits against Missouri’s sophomore right-handed pitcher Cassie Gasper. Although, the Sun Devils had plenty of hard contact against Gasper, even in the first inning, ASU went down in order, but all three balls were squared up.
“I felt like we had a lot more control this game than the last game from a hitting standpoint, and we just didn’t capitalize,” senior center fielder Morgan Howe said. “We hit the ball really hard just right at people and we’re making solid contact. I think we dug ourselves into a hole a little bit and couldn’t really figure out how to get out.”
ASU threatened in the bottom of the second inning when junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth led off with a single and shortstop Jade Gortatez walked. The two were left stranded, however. Gortarez singled the two innings later, but freshman designated player Yannira Acuña hit a ball straight to Tiger senior first baseman Kolby Romaine. Romaine caught the ball and tagged the frozen Gortarez, who could do nothing, but accept the inning-ending double play. And that play summed up ASU’s night against the Tigers.
The 12th ranked Sun Devils look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday as they host the Kansas Jayhawks at Farrington Stadium at 2:30 p.m. for the first part of their doubleheader. They’ll also play Weber State at 7:30 p.m.