Lineup changes, pitching switches, different jersey combinations. For 24th-ranked Arizona State (25-16, 5-9 Pac-12), they’ve tried everything to change up the aura around their losing streak. The Sun Devils saw the same result on Saturday as they had the previous seven contests after a 9-2 loss to fourth-ranked Washington (34-6, 11-3).
The Huskies took an early lead after a manufactured run in the first from a RBI by designated player Livy Schiele and a moonshot of a solo home run from catcher Morganne Flores put Washington up two after three. For the ninth straight game, ASU’s opponent scored first and the Sun Devils needed to battle back.
Initially they did, junior shortstop Jade Gortarez annihilated a pitch from senior righty Taran Alvelo for her second homer of the season, and more importantly she tied the game as she also brought in junior right fielder Kindra Hackbarth.
It’s what followed that led to ASU’s eighth straight loss. Alvelo, the conference leader in strikeouts, continued to blow by batters and create whiffs. After she allowed the game-tying two-run blast from Gortarez, Alvelo retired every single Sun Devil she faced besides a walk to Hackbarth. She allowed just the two runs on three hits and struck out 12.
Washington also answered back in the bottom half of the fourth. ASU starter Samantha Mejia desperately needed a shutdown inning, but the Huskies came through with five runs. Husky shortstop Sis Bates hit a laser of a line drive to right field that just got under the glove of a diving Hackbarth. Bates eventually ended up at third with a two-RBI triple.
The knockout blow came two batters later when left fielder Sami Reynolds lifted a three-run home run to right to extend the lead to five.
Bates and Schiele each drove in another run late in the game as well.
Arizona State will once again attempt to end the losing skid with a 12:00 p.m. Sunday contest against Washington.