Softball Sails in Sweep Over No. 25 Iowa State & Portland State
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Hitting was contagious, pitching was near-dominant and the No. 11/13 Arizona State (9-1) softball team was hardly tested on Day Two of the GCU/ASU Tournament, cruising to a two-game sweep at Alberta B. Farrington Stadium against Portland State and No. 25 Iowa State.
In game one, an offensive slugfest and a shutout from starter Lindsay Lopez paced the Sun Devils to an 8-0 run-ruling victory against Portland State.
ASU launched three home runs and totaled 12 hits against the Vikings, a game it had complete control in since the opening frame.
Maddi Hackbarth started the scoring with a first inning RBI single to center field. The Sun Devils put a stamp on the afternoon with back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning by Alynah Torres and Alli Tatnall.
The Sun Devils scored in each of the four innings they came to the plate, capped by Yannira Acuna's run-scoring double in the fourth to make it 8-0.
Lopez danced around trouble in the fifth, but slammed the door shut on the Vikings to seal her third win of the season.
In the top-25 tilt in Game Two against Iowa State, the Sun Devils turned in a 16-hit effort to break away from the Cyclones in an 8-3 win. Fifth-year senior Cielo Meza tossed six innings of three run ball, weathering a late-inning Iowa State rally. She struck out nine, and in doing so, eclipsed the 550-career strikeout mark.
" Honestly I thought about it the other day because I saw Kindra's 200th hit and I was like when's my 200th strikeout so it's awesome and especially finishing here at ASU that's amazing" said Meza on her 500th career strikeout.
550 career strikeouts and counting for Cielo Meza ?? pic.twitter.com/zZBJvkzzx0
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 28, 2021
The Sun Devils once again jumped opposing pitching early, scoring in the first inning with a two-run single off the bat of Maddi Hackbarth. Hackbarth finished the nightcap 3-for-4 with one home run and four RBIs.
Maddi Hackbarth and Alynah Torres slugged back-to-back home runs in the third, the fourth time the Sun Devils have hit consecutive home runs this year and the third time it's happened in the last two days.
"I think going back to last year she was put in my hitting group and we just bonded from the beginning and then built a friendship outside of softball and I think that's what has really carried us through softball when we're on the field," Maddi Hackbarth said of Torres.
They steadily grew their lead, piecing together timely hit after timely hit, as Meza settled in on the other side of the ball. At one point, Meza retired 13 of 14 consecutive hitters, working around a leadoff home run in the top of the fourth inning.
Allison Royalty came on to close things out and made quick work of the Cyclones, retiring the side in order and securing the win.
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils will take on New Mexico at 11AM MST for their last game of the tournament.
Game 1: ASU 8, PORTLAND STATE 0
HOW IT HAPPENED :
- The Sun Devils got out to an early lead, pushing the game's first run across the board in the home half of the first courtesy of Maddi Hackbarth's RBI single to center.
- ASU grew its lead in the second, when Brittany Holland deposited a one-out offering from Portland State's Serafine Parrish over the center field wall for a solo home run, the first of the year for Holland. With two outs in the inning, Jazmine Hill laced an RBI single to right field, scoring Kindra Hackharth from second, to push the Sun Devils' lead to 3-0.
- The Sun Devils pounced again in the third, loading the bases for Bella Loomis, who squeezed a two-run single to right field. It was enough to chase Portland State's Parrish from the game after just 2.1 innings of work.
- Alynah Torres and Alli Tatnall led off the fourth inning with back-to-back home runs, the third time the Sun Devils have hit consecutive home runs this year and the second time it's happened in as many days.
- The Sun Devils continued to pour it on in the fourth, as a Yannira Acuna double scored Makenna Harper from first to make it 8-0.
- The left-handed Lopez cruised through a majority of the afternoon en route to the Sun Devils' 8-0, run-ruling win. Lopez tossed five shutout innings, yielding just five hits, striking out five and walking none.
Power Lineup ??
Back 2 Back HRs from this duo ?? pic.twitter.com/j8dZnQTYrU
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 27, 2021
Game 2, ASU 8, IOWA STATE 3
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Sun Devils picked up where they left off in the nightcap, as Maddi Hackbarth ripped a two-run single down the left field line to open the scoring in the first inning.
- Maddi Hackbarth and Alynah Torres slugged back-to-back home runs in the third, the fourth time the Sun Devils have hit consecutive home runs this year and the third time it's happened in the last two days.
- After Iowa State got on the board in the fourth with a solo home run, the Sun Devils got it right back in their half of the inning -- and then some. Some timely knocks over the next few innings stretched the Sun Devils' lead to 8-1.
- Sun Devil starter Cielo Meza was efficient all night. For a majority of the night, she was largely unbothered, save for two home runs that shrunk the Sun Devils' lead to 8-3.
- Allison Royalty came on in the top of the seventh, retiring the Cyclones in order to close the game.
1??6?? Hits vs No. 25 Iowa St.
Most hits since March 1, 2019 ?? pic.twitter.com/8ovBZDyJle
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 28, 2021
FACTS TO KNOW:
- With Kindra Hackbarth's two-out double in the second inning of game one, she became tied for 7th-most career doubles in school history with 44.
- After scoring in the first inning of game two, the Sun Devils scored in six straight innings dating back to Friday night's game against Oklahoma.
- Maddi Hackbarth's leadoff home run in the third inning of game two marked the first time the Sun Devils have homered on a first pitch this season.
- Maddi Hackbarth and Alynah Torres hit consecutive home runs in the third inning of game two, marking the third time the Sun Devils have hit consecutive home runs in the last two days.
- The Sun Devils have homered in each of their 10 games this season.
- With six innings pitched tonight, Cielo Meza has now logged 497.2 career innings. Meza also reached 550-plus career strikeouts with her first inning punch out of Iowa State's Carli Spelhaug. Meza also owns the sixth-most strikeouts in program history, reaching 558 tonight.
COACH FORD ON TONIGHT'S START BY MEZA:
"I thought she threw well tonight. I think Iowa State's a scrappy team, obviously a top-25 team. I thought she did a great job of pounding the zone and making them just miss. For me, I'm just excited. She's worked so hard to get where she's at and she's really refocused on what she wants to do. Her approach to pitching, I've seen a huge shot in the arm with what she wants to do. She deserves it."
COACH FORD ON BATTLING IOWA STATE PITCHING:
"I thought we took advantage of them quickly, which is a really good sign of a good team. Harper had really, really good at-bats. When Kindra did the same thing -- when they're battling multiple pitches in an at-bat when we get a new pitcher in, I think that gives you more and more information, and it's giving you that ability to, as other hitters down the line, to be able to figure some things out. I was really impressed."