It was a beautiful night in Eugene yesterday, but the Sun Devils (26-5,7-0 Pac-12) brought the rain down on Oregon (24-9, 4-6) in a 9-3 win that pushed the win streak to 15 in a row.
The runs came early and often. Every hitter ASU brought up to the plate reached base, six different players scored and six different players drove one in as well.
The pressure was immediately put on Oregon when Alynah Torres led off the game with a long ball. Her second home run in three games set the tone for what was to come, as the runs poured in the first four innings.
Besides for the solo shot by Torres, the top of the lineup was pretty quiet in the hit department. Torres, Acuña and Sanders all had an RBI, but it was the middle third of the order that really did the damage.
Jazmyn Rollin has been on a tear as of late. She’s hit homers in three consecutive games, and yesterday the Mizzou transfer went 3-for-4 with two home runs, and she made sure to pose for the camera on each of them. One was a wall-scraper out to right field, and the other was a no-doubt moonshot out to deep center field that iced the game for the Sun Devils. It was her first multi-homer game as a member of the squad.
Emily Cazares had a multi-hit game, driving in a run while scoring two of her own. Acuña drove in a run via a bases loaded hit-by-pitch, Sanders immediately followed that with a walk to drive in another.
By the time the bottom of the 4th came around, the lead was 8-0 ASU.
Mac Morgan toed the rubber for Arizona State in search of her 13th win of the season, and she got it. It was shut-down inning after shut-down inning. Two out singles and two out walks didn’t rattle Morgan as she kept pitching to contact, getting the outs she needed to.
The fifth inning didn’t go so well for Morgan. She gave up a pinch-hit two run blast to Valler Wong and then a solo shot to Rachel Cid (which was her first of the season). Her final line for the night was 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, and 1 SO. At that point, however, it was still a five run deficit for Oregon.
Manager Trisha Ford brought in Marissa Shuld out of the bullpen in the 6th to lock it down the rest of the way, and that’s exactly what she did. Shuld went for two hitless innings to close out the 15th straight victory for ASU, and the fourth straight loss for the Ducks.
Oregon’s starter, Makenna Kliethermes, had trouble all night putting hitters away. The Sun Devils would grind out six, seven, eight pitch at bats and get the hit, walk, or run they needed at that moment.
When it came down to it, ASU just played a better brand of ball than Oregon did. The Ducks committed three errors (one lead to a run), and walked/hit key batters with the bases loaded. On offense, they couldn’t string together hits in multiples to get a rally going. ASU led wire to wire thanks to solid pitching and defense, great at-bats and timely hitting.
It was an all around statement to the top of the Pac-12, and potentially the rest of the country that the Sun Devils aren’t messing around. They want to be viewed as a serious threat when it gets to tournament time, and wins like this keep pushing that narrative forward.
If ASU can take two out of three (at the least) in Eugene, it’s going to be hard to deny them entry into the Top-10 of the national rankings.
First pitch for game two is Saturday is 6:00 MST on Pac-12 Network.