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ASU Softball: No. 17 Sun Devils dominate in ASU Invitational doubleheader finale

Lots of runs and two shutouts.

Brady Vernon

Game One vs. Lehigh

The Sun Devils continued to hear Arizona State coach Trisha Ford’s message from Friday loud and clear on Sunday. Arizona State’s (20-7) 9-0 win over Lehigh (7-7) wasn’t as impressive compared to its one on Saturday but it’s hard to match that offensive output.

However, in the box, Arizona State started somewhat slow. The Sun Devils only produced two runs in the first three innings after solo home runs from Maddi Hackbarth and Kiara Kennedy. After adding a pair of runs in the fourth, the offense broke out to earn the run-rule victory.

It was all newcomers that brought the runs to cement the victory. Freshman Jordyn VanHook’s three-run home run ended the game due to run-rule. Sophomore transfer Mailey McLemore had a pinch-hit, RBI-double and freshman Alynah Torres drove in a run.

“Throughout the whole first game, I was really early and I wasn’t getting the pitches I should be swinging at,” VanHook said. “My approach to my last at-bat was just wait for you pitch and when you get it drive it, and that’s what I did.”

Ford has been very happy that freshmen and transfer bats’ production will help push the veteran starting players.

“They push them, I’ll tell you that,” Ford said. “Jordyn had a great weekend. She’s been very effective and has done her job every time we’ve put her in a pinch hitting situation...She’s put up some really good at-bats. Mailey tonight too, that kid is special...It was good for her tonight to go out there and hit the ball hard. They’re fun.”

Freshman Lindsay Lopez earned her second win of the season. She threw 3.2 scoreless innings but worked herself into trouble in the fourth. Lehigh had two hitters reach and Samantha Mejia entered the game. Mejia walked the first batter she faced, but snuck out of the jam after inducing a pop up. She increased her scoreless streak to 17.1 innings.

“She started this season a little rough, but her (velocity) is back. She’s hitting her spots much better, her changeup is working,” said Ford on Mejia. “It’s just her buying in knowing that it’s going to come, just keeping working. I thought she did a great job.”

Game Two vs. Ohio State

Arizona State (21-7) replicated the 9-0 win the following game against Ohio State (8-9). The Sun Devils took off on offense from the get go. The bases were loaded early and second baseman Halle Harger unloaded them. She flicked one over Ohio State second baseman Mariah Rodriguez for a single, but right fielder Kaitlyn Coffman made an error that allowed all three baserunners to score.

Bella Loomis, who was credited with a RBI in the five-run first inning because she walked in a run, brought in three more in the second inning thanks to a three-run home run. Loomis started at third base on Sunday night and paired Harger at second base. With dropballer Madison Preston in the circle, Ford felt more comfortable on defense using Loomis and Harger together due to the high amount of groundballs induced by Preston.

Preston herself had an excellent night in the circle. She tossed a complete game shutout, allowed one Buckeye hit and struck out six batters. Preston felt she had good spin on her ball all night and Ohio State would probably agree.

“I thought Preston was very efficient. I was very pleased with her performance tonight,” Ford said.

DeNae Chatman sent out her fifth home run this season as well.

Arizona State will host South Dakota on Tuesday at Farrington Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. matchup.