Cielo Meza was just a batter away from a perfect game on Friday. The right-handed senior wasn’t exactly perfect on Sunday, but she was excellent and tossed her first Sun Devil no-hitter in the 7-0 win over Seattle (0-5).
Arizona State (4-1) rode Meza’s arm behind her 14 strikeouts in her seven innings of work. For her, she was just happy to get another opportunity at a piece of history.
“I feel relieved from Friday,” Meza said. “I was just so close to the perfect game but I told myself I’m going to get these (last) three outs.”
Meza still believes she has better stuff than she did in her no-hitter. That probably stems from her five free passes. Head coach Trisha Ford was happy to see her pitcher’s performance.
“(Cielo) had a great day today,” Ford said. “She worked through some tough innings. She’ll tell you that she didn’t have her best stuff but I was very proud of her. She spun the heck of the ball and just kept pounding the zone.”
The offense handed Meza early run support with a five-run first inning.
Freshman shortstop Alynah Torres continued to display her power bat. After homering in wins over Northwestern and Kansas, Torres sent out her third home run of the season to add the exclamation point of the frame.
Torres took the advice of hitting coach Jeff Harger and it paid of in her first-inning at-bat.
“I talked to Harger before that at-bat. He was like ‘get your hands back, you’re so inside,’ “ Torres said. “I always trust him. I saw a pitch and went for it.”
The top of the lineup of center fielder Kindra Hackbarth and second baseman Bella Loomis kept providing opportunities. The pair scored separately on RBI hits from catcher Maddi Hackbarth and designated player Alli Tatnall.
Kindra Hackbarth also added a triple and scored an a sacrifice fly from Loomis. Jazmine Hilled scored a run as well.
After three straight games of battling from start to finish, Ford felt a comfort in a game she didn’t have to stress about.
“It was good for our offense today to come out on a mission and really play ASU softball,” Ford said. “That was our focus point that we talked about pre-game. Let’s get back to our type of softball.”
The win didn’t bring all joyful moments. Kindra Hackbarth struck out and the pitch hit her in on the finger. She fell in pain and was tended to by a trainer before walking back into the dugout. She did not return to the game.
The Sun Devils hope to finish the Kajikawa Classic on Monday against No. 12 Tennessee at 7:00 p.m. However, with the forecast having a high chance of rain there’s the possibility of the game being canceled.