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ASU Softball: Sun Devils run-rule New Mexico, battle till the end against No. 2 Oklahoma

Fun night of softball

Brady Vernon

Arizona State (7-1) split a doubleheader on Friday against Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Game One

The offense was all gas, no brakes for Arizona State against New Mexico (1-7). Powered by four homers, the Sun Devils beat the Lobos 13-1. Each inning saw a run come across the plate and two that featured at least five runs.

After Arizona State surrendered a run in the first, the bats answered quickly. Maddi Hackbarth and Alynah Torres slammed back-to-back homers to kickstart a five-run first inning.

In the second and third innings, Kindra Hackbarth and Jazmine Hill sent out solo shots. Highlighted by doubles from Bella Loomis and Alli Tatnall, the Sun Devils added six runs in the fourth inning.

Lindsay Lopez allowed an RBI-single to New Mexico third baseman Izabella Owens in the first inning, but that’s the only hit she allowed. Across five innings, Lopez worked her changeup well and struck out five batters.

Game Two

Allison Royalty and Trisha Ford stood alone in the outfield after the loss to Oklahoma. Royalty felt like she could’ve given more after she surrendered two home runs to the second-ranked Sooners in the seventh inning.

In the grand scheme of things, it was a performance that will be important for ASU come postseason time.

Oklahoma (8-0) took away a 5-3 victory against No. 13 Arizona State in what felt like a game that belonged in Oklahoma City.

Royalty went toe-to-toe in the circle against former Sun Devil and All-American pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez.

The freshman wanted the pitches she sent in to Jocelyn Alo and Nicole Mendes back, but her coach wants her to focus on her six-plus inning performance that included seven strikeouts.

“I gave her the ball today and that meant a lot and I wanted to see what she had,” Ford said. “(Oklahoma) was one of the top offenses in the country and she’s going to face that with several teams in the Pac-12. I thought there were a lot of good things. She was really hard on herself. She has complete accountability and as a pitcher you don’t see that as much. She did a lot of good things, we’ll clean some things up.

“When she came out in the seventh and we started to hit she came down by me and I told her listen, ‘Allison in February and Allison in May is going to be very different,’ and she said absolutely and I said exactly, relax. You’re going to get better and you’re going to get better in three months and you’re going to get better year after year.”

Juarez quieted the potent Sun Devil lineup for most of the game outside of Makenna Harper, who went 3-3 and homered against the lefty hurler. Despite being down four runs, Arizona State battled.

DeNae Chatman launched a ball out to center that would’ve been a home run most days had it not been for a spectacular play by the Sooners’ Jayda Coleman to bring the ball back in play and off her glove. Hill scored on the play and Harper singled in Chatman in the next at-bat.

Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso had seen enough after three straight hits and brought in Shannon Saile to replace Juarez after a 10-strikeout night. Saile retired the next three batters she faced to save the game and end the threat from ASU.

Ford obviously wanted the win, but she enjoyed the fight from her team.

“I told the team at the end of the game that that’s who we are,” she said. “We are going to fight and not make people feel comfortable. There’s lot of people around here that know that we don’t care how much we’re done, what inning it is, we have a shot.”

Arizona State has another doubleheader on Saturday against Portland State and No. 25 Iowa State.