When DeNae Chatman stepped up to the plate to lead off the fifth inning, it had been 11 straight frames for the Sun Devils without scoring a run in the series versus Oregon State (17-24, 4-16 Pac-12).
Arizona State (31-13, 12-8) finally broke the dam in that fifth inning, scoring four runs on its way to a 5-2 win.
Chatman walked and Savannah Price followed by collecting the Sun Devils second hit of the game. Bella Loomis was asked to put down a bunt, delivering a perfect one that prevented the Beavers from getting an out.
The bases were loaded for the top of the lineup. Kindra Hackbarth singled to score her team’s first run of the weekend. Jazmine Hill hit into a fielder’s choice the next at-bat, but gave her team the lead.
Price came in on a wild pitch and Maddi Hackbarth drove in Hill on a single. The Sun Devils added another run in the seventh.
Strikeouts aren’t Lindsay Lopez’s calling card, but she was creating a lot of whiffs on Saturday. In 5.1 innings, she struck out eight batters, including sitting down five straight via the K. None were bigger than back-to-back strikeouts to strand the bases loaded in the fifth.
Lopez ran into more trouble in the sixth and Allison Royalty came in for the save. Oregon State pushed one across in the sixth but Royalty kept the lead at two. After walking the leadoff batter in the seventh, she retired the next three to finish the win.
As troublesome as the bats have been on Friday and Saturday, Royalty and Lopez’s outings have been promising with postseason play on the horizon.
Arizona State will try to clinch the series on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.