Following the disappointing result of the Tempe Regional, Arizona State coach Trisha Ford emphasized that for her program to reach the place it wants to be, the pitching needs to be better.
To get to that point, Arizona State needs a sophomore leap from Allison Royalty. The Texas native was one of Ford’s first recruits when she took over the Sun Devil program. She had a decent freshman season having a 3.20 ERA across 124.2 innings. That included highs — like a very solid outing against the title-winning Oklahoma Sooners — and some lows — five-walk loss to Utah.
It’s easy to point out Royalty’s home run totals, but as a rise ball pitcher, that’s simply going to happen. It’s limiting the free passes; walks and hit by pitches, to keep runners off base. Royalty’s screwball sometimes run into batters a lot, which will happen but it occurred at some odd times like 0-2 counts. That should improve with more experience.
The hope is that Royalty can take a similar leap in year two similar to what Lindsay Lopez did last season. Royalty, Lopez, Arizona transfer Marissa Schuld and incoming freshman Mac Morgan should be a very solid, young pitching rotation.