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ASU Softball: A late rally by Stanford handed the Sun Devils their first series loss of 2022

Back down to earth?

By Zach BonDurant, House of Sparky

Well, it finally happened. ASU Softball (32-7, 13-2 Pac-12) lost its first series of the season, dropping two-out-of-three to Stanford (31-13, 8-7 Pac-12).

The Sun Devils got off to a rocking start, but couldn’t drive in key runs down the stretch. Ultimately, the final score was 4-2.

The first three innings were all in the hands of Arizona State. The game was kicked off with back-to-back bombs by Alynah Torres and Yannira Acuña to left field and right field, respectively.

Getting those two runs off of Stanford’s ace, Alana Vawter, were crucial to set the tone for the rest of the game. She was the one that ended ASU’s 20-game win streak on Friday night, holding the Devils to just one run in that game.

Vawter is pitching to a 1.62 ERA in 164.2 innings in 2022, and she would settle into that identity quickly after the two homers.

For the maroon and gold, Marissa Schuld had things under control for the first three innings. Stanford would poke a single here and there, but Schuld wasn’t giving in to the Cardinal offense so easily.

Without Mac Morgan available on Sunday, along with Lindsay Lopez pitching the day before, Schuld had to go out there for some length.

It was all working in her favor… Until the fourth inning came around.

The big bats for Stanford came alive. A lead-off double and back-to-back singles by the three, four and five hitters brought a run home and brought Trisha Ford out to the mound to yank her starting pitcher.

It may have been too early to some, but when Allison Royalty came into the game for Schuld she managed to work out of the jam with three straight outs.

Royalty’s performance in that inning came as a bit of a shock, given that she’d only pitched in 10 games up to that point, and has allowed the most runs on the staff.

She came back down to earth in the fifth, giving up two straight doubles that forced her out of the game. The starter from the night before, Lindsay Lopez, came in to try and find a way out of a second and third, no out situation.

Her afternoon started with a strikeout, but it was on a wild pitch that allowed Sydnee Huff to reach first base safely. So, with the bases loaded and nobody out, she had to attack the zone.

Sometimes, one mistake is the difference in games like this. Emily Young drove a ball into right-center field, sending two runners across the plate to take a 3-2 lead. Another single brought another run home, making it a two-run lead for Stanford after five innings.

A three run swing… ouch.

ASU had the chance to respond when Jazmine Hill and Jazmyn Rollin walked to start the sixth. Immediately after, an unfortunate line-out to the shortstop by Emily Cazares turned into a double play as they tagged out Hill on second.

After Lopez held strong in the bottom half of the inning with two strikeouts and a pop out, the Sun Devils had one more chance.

Savannah Price went up to pinch-hit for Jessica Puk to lead it off, but she struck out. Bella Loomis followed that up with the first ASU extra base hit since Acuña’s homer in the first, lacing one into the right center field gap.

The top of the order, Torres and Acuña, were up with a chance to keep the rally going.

Alas, the group that has come back so many times this season to win in dramatic fashion didn’t have the magic on Sunday.

Torres grounded out to third, and Acuña popped out to the shortstop to end the game.

Final score: 4-2

Sunday’s loss was the first time Arizona State had been beaten twice in the same week since the beginning of March.

The Sun Devils will look to get back on track when they return to Tempe to face Cal (25-20-1, 6-9 Pac-12) in a three-game set, starting Friday.