No. 17 Arizona State (20-8, 0-1 Pac-12) dropped its conference opener to Oregon State (17-5) on Friday night at Farrington Stadium.
In an uncharacteristic performance, the Sun Devils made three errors, and after two innings, Oregon State led 4-0.
ASU was shut out 5-0 going into the seventh inning before scoring the team’s first run of the night.
“The seventh inning was better but there is seven innings in a game and we played not great softball for six and a half innings and they know it,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “We did not play clean defense, Abby (Andersen) didn’t have a good game, and offensively we didn’t get anything started...This was a our first Pac game and you got the nerves going and you just have to funnel it a little bit better.”
Freshman pitcher Abby Andersen started Friday’s game. She ended up throwing a complete game after a rocky start. Only three of the five runs scored against her were earned, and her teammates felt she progressed as the game went along.
“As the game went on, I think Abby threw a better game,” junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth said. “...Being a freshman, I think you have to learn some things and I think the first couple innings for her was learning. After the game, we were talking about it, and she learned from it.”
ASU’s lone run of the game came off the bat of Hackbarth on a solo shot. Among other notable performers, senior left fielder Skylar McCarty was 2-3. She was the only Sun Devil with multiple hits.
Oregon State only out hit ASU 6-5, but the self-inflicted blunders hurt the Sun Devils in the long haul. It was an odd way to start Pac-12 play for a team that had been playing good softball as of late.
Oregon State sophomore pitcher Mariah Mazon ended up throwing a complete game while allowing just one run in an performance that tied up the Sun Devil bats. Whether it was nerves or just a rough game, ASU has proven to bounce back after losses.
Friday’s loss hurts for the Devils, but it isn’t the most devastating defeat in a long stretch of conference games.
For players who have been through the grind of it all, Friday is just something to wipe away. It’s now on to tomorrow as ASU needs to play catch up after dropping the opening game of three-game home series.
“Yes, this was a tough loss but we have to bounce back,” McCarty said. “There’s always tomorrow. We are good and once we believe it, we are going to be okay. That’s why we play a three-game series. It is what it is. We have a freshman in the circle and to be honest, I didn’t think she played bad. It’s our defense that needs to clean up. We need to come out and stick to our game plan. We are going to be okay in my eyes.”