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ASU Softball: 17 notes for 17 straight wins

Putting the win streak in context

Sun Devil Athletics

It has been a long time since Arizona State softball has been this hot.

The Sun Devils are on a 17-game win streak dating all the way back to March 6, when the team recovered from a 4-0 loss to Loyola Marymount to blank Texas A&M in a 7-0 win.

Since then, nobody has been able to slow the Sun Devils. The win streak has rolled from the end of non-conference play to the beginning nine games of Pac-12 competition. Arizona State blew past the longest win streak under head coach Trisha Ford (11 games in 2018) weeks ago. Now, the Sun Devils have their sights solidly trained on win No. 18 Thursday night against Utah, which would equal the most consecutive victories for the program in the last decade.

Before that series gets underway, its important to put into context just how remarkable and increasingly surreal this win streak has been for the Sun Devils.

So here are 17 notes, facts, and figures for the 17-game win streak the Sun Devils are riding into this weekend.

17 - The most important number. This is where the win streak sits entering the Thursday-Saturday series against Utah. For the first time since March 20, the Sun Devils will look to extend their streak at the friendly confines of Farrington Stadium. The Utes just took two of three against Cal, but their conference record is just 4-5. The Sun Devils have a real shot to get this to 20 by weekend’s end.

16 - The highest amount of conference wins under Trisha Ford. This mark was set in 2018, the last time the Sun Devils made the trip to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series. Big opponents remain ahead in UCLA and Stanford, which sit second and fourth in the Pac-12, respectively. Still, the Sun Devils are more than halfway there, and this mark is more than gettable.

15 - Amount of games during the win streak with at least one home run. Only the wins over Seattle and the first game against Arizona did not feature the long ball for the Sun Devils. The power surge has come in a season where many expected the team to take a step back from slamming home runs with the departure of Maddi Hackbarth and Kindra Hackbarth. Instead, the team has hit 62 bombs and sits fifth in the nation in home runs per game after being second in 2021. Quite the drop.

14 - Alynah Torres’ reached base streak. Three more games getting on base this past weekend at Oregon for Torres has given her the highest streak on the team. After beginning the season in the middle of the lineup, Torres now bats frequently from the leadoff spot and has thrived in that role.

13 - Wins for Mac Morgan. Sun Devil fans had been awaiting Morgan’s arrival for years and she has delivered on the hype. The freshman throws absolute diesel from the circle, and has overpowered opponents in almost every start. Morgan currently sits fifth in the conference in wins, and she will be a cornerstone of the Sun Devil pitching staff for years to come.

12 - The amount of games without an error during the win streak. If there is a weak link on this Sun Devil team, it is the defense. But in this stretch, the Sun Devils have remained mistake free over 70 percent of the time.

11 - Years since the last sweep in Tucson. At that time, the Sun Devils were on their way to their fourth, and most recent, national title. It was also the beginning of a six-game win streak against the Wildcats, as the Sun Devils swept the home series in 2012. That was a key weekend for the Sun Devils, who got Trisha Ford her first series win against the in-state rivals in dominant fashion.

10 - The number worn by Bella Loomis during her walk-off, three-run home run against Oregon State to push the win streak to 11 games. For the most part during the past month, the Sun Devils path to victory has been an open highway. Against the Beavers on the final day of the series, the Sun Devils appeared well on their way to another victory before lightning in the area delayed the game. That’s when things got murky, the Beavers rallied back to take a 6-4 advantage into the 7th inning, before a must-have two-run bottom half for the Sun Devils. Then, in the 8th, Loomis picked the perfect time for her only home run of the season.

9 - Where Yannira Acuña sits in current NCAA batting average. This has been the breakout senior season that many were expecting for Acuña, who was navigated up the chain of leadership and importance in the program to become one of its featured players. While she is at the back end of the top 10 in NCAA batting average, her astronomical .465 number is more than good enough for first in the conference.

8 - Games in a row with at least eight runs scored. Unsurprisingly, the Sun Devil offense has been the battery that has powered this win streak. While contributions from inside the circle have increased noticeably in 2022, Ford’s teams have always been identified by what they accomplish in the batter’s box. Throughout this win streak, the Sun Devils have forced their opponents to summit a mountain of at least six runs as just a prerequisite to compete.

7 - This is where the team is ranked nationally in runs per game. The Sun Devils have turned themselves from a team that was shutout by opponents like LMU and Texas State into a explosive offense that has staked its claim as one of the best in the country. Outside of Oklahoma, which appears to be on another planet right now, the Sun Devils average more runs than any team ranked inside the top 5.

6 - Shutout victories. The Sun Devils have blanked BYU and Texas A&M once during this stretch. The team got such a kick out of shutting down New Mexico State and Arizona, they decided to do it again because they could.

5 - Where the teams is ranked nationally in batting average. This goes hand-in-hand with the scoring numbers, but indicates that the Sun Devils are more than just the power team moniker the team has worn during the previous five seasons. Arizona State can still send balls into orbit, but they also spray them around the yard with the best of them in 2022.

4 - The spot occupied by freshman Cydney Sanders for home runs in the Pac-12 rankings after the Oregon series. For a smooth transition in what could have easily become a rebuilding year for the Sun Devils, Ford needed her freshmen and newcomers to acclimate quickly. No player has embodied the new era of Arizona State softball on offense better than Sanders. She can hit for power, but her average is also inside the top 30 nationally, and she will get on base with a walk if that’s what it takes as well. The future is bright with Morgan and Sanders.

3 - Grand slams. Including the one from Jazmine Hill that put Arizona State in front for good on Sunday for win No. 17 in a row, the Sun Devils have clobbered two more during this stretch as well. No team can succeed without timely hitting and capitalizing on opportunities, and the Sun Devils have done that in abundance this past month.

2 - Pac-12 Player of the Week awards for Hill and Acuña. The outfield for the Sun Devils is quickly becoming as decorated as it was during the days of dominance in the mid-to-late 2000s. After Acuña was crowned following the Arizona sweep, It was Hill’s moment this week after a banner weekend against Oregon. The numbers are simply risible. A .364 batting average, the aforementioned grand slam to go along with two other home runs and seven RBIs. Have yourself a weekend, Jazmine Hill.

1 - Perfect game. This win streak will go down in Sun Devil program lore for as long as they are playing softball in Tempe, but the most indelible scene from this monthlong joyride was Marissa Schuld’s perfect game against Arizona. The story in itself could not have been better, as Schuld returned to Tucson for the first time and mowed down her former teammates with pure pitching prowess from the circle. The offense did its part by finishing the conquest in five innings, and Schuld won her place in Sun Devil history with the first perfect game for Arizona State since 2017, and the eighth in program history.