After a four-RBI night on Saturday, ASU senior outfielder Morgan Howe picked up right where she left off on Sunday afternoon. Howe went 2-3 with five RBI’s and a grand slam as Arizona State (28-17, 8-10 Pac-12) swept Stanford (31-13, 7-8 Pac-12) with a 10-5 win in Palo Alto.
Howe’s big fly came in the third after ASU had just grabbed a lead courtesy of a Skylar McCarty RBI single that she punched into shallow right field.
That set the stage for Howe’s homer, which she lifted high over the center field wall to give the Sun Devils an early 5-0 lead. However, Stanford would respond in the bottom half of the frame.
Junior utility player Kristina Inouye and junior outfielder Hannah Howell recorded RBI’s for the Cardinal and they cut the deficit to 5-3. Then in the fourth, junior outfielder Teaghan Cowles hit a two-run blast to tie the game at five.
With a rally from Stanford, ASU had to click the reset button midway through the game. They hit that button in the sixth when they dropped five runs in the inning. Sophomore third baseman Kiara Kennedy broke the tie with an RBI double into left center field.
Sophomore second baseman Bella Loomis followed that with a sac fly, then junior right fielder Kindra Hackbarth dropped the hammer by driving a ball over the center field wall to make the score 9-5.
The offense came back after Stanford tied things and they created breathing room by adding five runs in the sixth.
Junior pitcher Sam Mejia went on to close things out in a seventh inning that featured a 5-4-3 double play that Kennedy turned with one on and nobody out. Kennedy received a high chopper, then went around the horn to Loomis and on to sophomore first baseman Denae Chatman to help diminish any chance of a late Stanford rally.
In the circle, Mejia was one of two pitchers used on Sunday. Fellow junior Cielo Meza started the game and went 3.1 innings before the Cardinal offense came alive in the fourth. Mejia came on to pick up her teammate and close things out.
Along with Howe’s second consecutive big game and timely hits, ASU certified a series sweep. They now return to Tempe for senior weekend on May 3-5 when the Sun Devils take on California for a three-game set. Howe, McCarty, and Taylor Becerra will be honored in Sunday’s game against the Golden Bears.