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ASU Softball: No. 14 Sun Devils clinch series over Utah behind Lopez’s effort in the circle

Good outing

Brady Venron/House of Sparky

Lindsay Lopez allowed a single to Utah’s Haley Denning to start the game and didn’t allow another base hit until the fifth inning.

Lopez held Utah (12-15, 1-8 Pac-12) off the scoreboard until the seventh inning. She escaped a last-effort rally to secure the Pac-12 series for No. 14 Arizona State (21-9, 4-5) and the 3-1 win.

Lopez, who earned her eighth victory of the season, retired 12 of the next 13 batters she faced following Denning’s single. Utah singled three times in the fifth inning, but Lopez struck out Alyssa Palacios to strand the runners.

The Utes didn’t go down easy, though. Katie Faulk singled in the seventh to drive in her team’s lone run. The hit also put runners on second and third with two outs for Palacios to potentially tie the contest with a hit. Instead, Lopez got her to fly out to end game.

Her final line stood at seven innings pitched, seven hits allowed, and four strikeouts. It was an outing that coach Trisha Ford needed.

The offense came from Maddi Hackbarth and Makenna Harper. Hackbarth sent out her 14th home run of the season and 10th in her career against Utah.

Harper, who moved up to the two-hole of the lineup, provided a clutch two-out, two-RBI single in the fifth inning that proved to be the difference on Saturday.

Ford mixed around the lineup a bit. Jazmine Hill, who has struggled a bit lately, dropped in the order.

True freshman Emily Cazares also took a few of her at-bats. Jordyn VanHook and Yanni Acuna earned the start at first base and designated player spots, and each had a hit against Utah.

Arizona State now has back-to-back conference series wins and took four of five from Utah this season. In total, the Sun Devils 10 of their last 11 contests against the Utes.

The Devils now return to Farrington Stadium to start a nine-game homestand beginning on April 6 versus Grand Canyon University at 6 p.m. local time.