After losing its conference opener, No. 17 Arizona State (22-8, 2-1 Pac-12) rallied nicely to take the final two games of their opening weekend of conference play.
The Devils used a nine-run second inning to run rule Oregon State (17-7, 1-2 Pac-12) by a final score of 12-4 in five innings.
Yesterday, the offense dropped a 13-run third inning, and for the second consecutive day, the bats erupted. What could be more impressive is the fact the offense has continued to do damage with two outs. Eight runs in the second frame were driven in during two-out scenarios.
“The last two nights, I feel like it has all been with two outs. We are passing the bat right now,” senior outfielder Skylar McCarty said. “We are seeing good pitches, we are making good contact, and we are believing in ourselves.”
McCarty, who drove in a two-run RBI double on Sunday, finished going 2-4 at the plate.
Oregon State sophomore pitcher Mariah Mazon started against ASU on Sunday for the second time in the weekend. She pitched a complete game while allowing one run in Friday’s win for the Beavers.
However Sunday was a whole different story. She exited after surrendering all nine runs in the second, and she lasted 1.2 innings. McCarty noted the offensive adjustment was watching film on the right-hander after Friday’s game.
Among other offensive highlights, sophomore infielder Bella Loomis had two RBI’s courtesy of a two-out single, and senior center fielder Morgan Howe had a two-RBI double.
Junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth also had a solo home run to right center field to crack open the scoring.
Sophomore first baseman Denae Chatman also had a big day, going 2-2 with three RBI’s. Both of her knocks were extra base hits, as she doubled and tripled.
“I think we did a really good job of bouncing back and staying within ourselves in our at-bats and stringing together hits,” said Chatman of the team’s offensive output. “...I stayed within myself and stuck to my plan that we have been working on all week.”
Another one of the under the radar players who has continued to string together quality performances was sophomore infielder Kiara Kennedy.
She came in to pinch-hit with two outs in the second inning and proceeded to rope a two-out double into the right field gap. Kennedy had another double later on, and her presence was felt on the base paths, where she took an extra 60 feet multiple times on pitches in the dirt.
The Utah Valley transfer has continued to play well as of late.
“I think she is getting better and better. She is putting some great at-bats together,” said head coach Trisha Ford of Kennedy. “Today, she had a big at-bat for us and she’s just a worker. She puts her head down and goes to work. She’s done a tremendous job. She’s a student of the game, but she came here to play. She’s making the most of her opportunity.”
In the circle, freshman pitcher Abby Andersen combined with junior pitcher Sam Mejia to hold down the Beavers. Andersen went 3.1 innings before getting relieved by Mejia.
Mejia worked 1.2 innings while allowing no runs, and she even tip toed out of a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the fifth inning and escaped unscathed. Andersen and Mejia have continued to grab the reigns as the Devils’ one-two punch as of late.
“It’s just cool with the bond that we have. There was no doubt in my mind that she wasn’t going to help me out,” said Andersen of Mejia’s relief. “I trust her and I think she trusts me, and I think we have a good understanding of how we can help each other.”
ASU made two errors on Sunday, but due to their offensive juggernaut in the last two games, it didn’t come back to haunt them.
Despite a conference opening loss, the team bounced back nicely and flexed its offensive muscle with 30 runs scored over the final two games.
“We are capable of putting up crooked numbers a lot and frequently at any point in time,” Ford said. “I am very confident that a lead is not safe with our offense. Our offense is winning us these games. They are putting up some big runs and it’s just hard from an opponents standpoint to keep facing our lineup.”