The fans departed Farrington Stadium shortly after the 11 o’clock hour following Friday night’s comeback win in the opening round of the Tempe Regional. Arizona State left a little later than that with a quick turnaround looming as they took on San Diego State on Saturday afternoon.
An eight-run first inning showed no signs of a hangover as ASU jumped out to the early lead and rode it to a 11-8 win over the Aztecs, advancing them to the regional championship.
Going into Saturday, Arizona State homered in 81 percent of its games this season (40 of 49). Despite the 91-degree heat, the Sun Devils were able to produce offense without the long ball.
“I always think (the heat) helps us, to be honest with you,” said head coach Trisha Ford. “Our players were warm, but we’re used to practicing in it. I hope it’s hotter tomorrow, to be honest with you.”
The offensive explosion in the first saw every starting Sun Devil reach base as they batted around the order. The Aztecs immediately responded with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
SDSU’s ability to not go away ended Lindsay Lopez’s day in the second inning, where Marissa Schuld came in and retired back-to-back hitters with the bases loaded. Schuld settled in during the third inning, as she retired 13 of the last 16 hitters she faced.
“(Schuld) hasn’t gotten as many innings as of late,” said Ford. “Today, she got her chance, her opportunity, and I thought she did a great job with it. It took her a little bit, but I love the fact that she kept fighting. That’s kind of her in a nutshell, and she got better as the game went on.”
ASU was able to add some insurance in the third, when Jazmine Hill (3-5, 4 RBIs) singled in a pair and in the fifth, when Yannira Acuna (3-5, 2 RBIs) singled home Bella Loomis (2-4, 2 RBIs).
Both teams combined for 19 runs on 28 hits. Just five hits went for extra bases and ASU accounted for four of them.
San Diego State will play Cal State Fullerton as the nightcap for Saturday’s slate. Arizona State will face the winner in the championship game on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. local time.