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ASU Softball: Sun Devils drop series opener after going nine innings with the Ducks

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Outlasted in extras

Brady Vernon

Oregon’s offense generally puts pressure on its opposition using speed. The Ducks ninth-inning rally showcased that.

Catcher Terra McGowan singled to start the frame. She’d move over to second following a sacrifice-bunt.

Rachel Cid beat out a ball hit to Alynah Torres at shortstop to put runners on the corners with two outs. Mya Felder bounced one to Torres on the next pitch, but the Sun Devil shortstop fumbled it, allowing the eventual game-winning run to score.

Hard-throwing freshman Raegan Breedlove closed out the series-opening victory for Oregon (31-10, 9-7 Pac-12) in the bottom of the ninth to secure the 6-5 win.

For the first three innings, Arizona State’s (28-12, 9-7) was non-existent. Oregon’s ace Brooke Yanez racked up six strikeouts and surrendered one hit to open the contest. However, things changed quickly in the fourth.

Maddi Hackbarth launched her 19th home run of the season to put her team on the board. It wouldn’t be the only long ball.

Yanez allowed the next two batters to reach before facing Makenna Harper. Harper took the first pitch she saw out to center field to tie the game at four following a three-run blast, ending Yanez’s outing.

DeNae Chatman got the first look at Makenna Kliethermes, who relieved Yanez. Chatman handed the Sun Devils their first lead with a solo shot, making it 5-4.

That’d be the last time Kliethermes made a mistake. She proceeded to give Oregon five innings of work, allowing only one hit after Chatman’s home run.

She escaped multiple jams in the seventh and eighth. Bella Loomis doubled in the seventh. Kindra Hackbarth, who is two for her last 16 at-bats, and Jazmine Hill, failed to bring her in to win the game.

Maddi Hackbarth then forced a walk to open the bottom of the eighth. Torres attempted to bunt pinch-runner Olivia Miller into scoring position, much like the Ducks succeeded to do in the ninth. She could not get it down and later lined into a double play.

Early on, Oregon jumped on Arizona State starter Allison Royalty. Allee Bunker started her great night at the plate by hitting a two-run home run before Royalty recorded an out.

Bunker later singled in Haley Cruse in the second to extend the lead to four. The Duck second baseman also drove in the game-tying run in the sixth on a two-out single.

Bowden also homered in the second.

“We started off really slow and I think the first three innings were pretty rough both offensively, defensively, and on all facets,” said head coach Trisha Ford. “I commend us for getting back into that game, we showed a lot of fight. We had our opportunities with our big dogs to win us a ballgame and we just didn’t execute tonight.”

Arizona State looks to bounce back on Saturday in its doubleheader against the Ducks. The conference slate will start at 4 p.m. local time and the non-conference game will follow 30 minutes after.