Harper’s Homer Seals Run Rule vs NIU
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Makenna Harper's three-run home run secures the 10-2 run rule victory for the No. 11 Arizona State softball team on Tuesday night against Northern Illinois. It is the tenth run rule of the season for the Sun Devils and fifth consecutive.
ASU started the game strong as pitcher Lindsey Lopez kept NIU scoreless until the top of the fourth. Lopez threw four strikeouts and earned her sixth win of the season to remain undefeated.
Harper earned five RBIs, finished 2-for-2, and hit a three-run home run with one walk. She now boasts four dingers and 12 RBIs on the season.
"Just knowing my plan going up to bat, and kind of just practicing my approach and following my same routine every at bat," Harper said of her routine. "Just making sure everything is routine and just sticking to the approach."
After two scoreless innings, ASU capitalized at the bottom of the third when Kindra Hackbarth sparked the Sun Devil offense sending one over the fence, putting the first run on the board. The energy continued when Harper hit a single to center field with bases loaded sending Alli Tatnall and Alynah Torres home and advancing Denae Chatman to second.
Maddi Hackbarth doubled down the left field line to advance ASU to 6-0 and ignited the Sun Devils after a defensive lull at the top of fourth. The offensive streak continued in the fourth inning after Harper lined one over the fence to end the game and secure the mercy rule win, 10-2.
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils continue hosting duties at Farrington Stadium with a game against Baylor on March 11 at 6 p.m. MST. Fans are allowed to attend with limited tickets being offered to the public, but the game will also be watchable via the Arizona State Live Stream.
ASU 10, NIU 2 (5)
HOW IT HAPPENED :
- With a slow start in the first, Lopez kept NIU scoreless forcing two groundouts, while the Sun Devils offense had two hits and left a runner stranded to end the first inning.
- Lopez continued to keep NIU off the board through two, but ASU had a difficult time bringing runners home as Holland (.414) and Harper (.410) were stranded at second and first to end the second inning.
- K. Hackbarth (.463) hit a home run to open scoring for the Sun Devils in their half of the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, Harper (.410) brought two runs home and extended the Sun Devil lead to 3-0.
- Holland (.414) capitalized on ASU's offensive momentum with a double to the back wall bringing in Harper and Chatman which put ASU up 5-0 headed into the fourth inning.
- NIU scored their only runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning off of their first, and only hits of the game allowed by Lopez.
- In a five-run fifth inning, M. Hackbarth doubled in a one out single to make it a 6-2 ballgame. Tatnall (.452) brought M. Hackbarth home off of a single to left for the second run of the inning. A walk to Chatman had two on base for Harper whose three run home run had the Sun Devils with double digits in the run column up 10-2.
- Sun Devils held off NIU in the top of the fifth to secure their 17th win of the season.
- Fifth straight run rule for the Sun Devils and tenth on the season
- Nine Sun Devils are batting over .400 on the season.
- Lindsay Lopez has a team-low 1.73 ERA in 41.2 IP.
- Maddi Hackbarth leads the Pac-12 in home runs and RBIs.
QUOTES FROM COACH
On the Sun Devils slow first two innings:
"I think you know for me it's been a really long probably ten days and so they really haven't had a whole lot of down time and so it was getting back into the swing of things. Coach Harger and I were talking to them about how we thought they were balls and you know just not doing a great job of being selective and hitting our pitches, so I think that something that needs to happen obviously for us to be very successful, which they still came around and figured it out. I think you look at our lineup and look at Kindra she gets things started. Alli Tatnall puts together a really good at bat, I mean Tat's been just unbelievable, she's just taking the emotion out of hitting amd is just really enjoying it and she is doing just a tremendous job of really taking in the information that the pitcher is giving her in that situation and she's not afraid to make adjustments in the middle of an at bat, which I think is really a great sign of a great hitter and a mature hitter."
On Makenna Harper:
"Harper's a competitor and I think there are all kinds of different types of players and that is her to the core, I don't know if I have coached a more competitive kid. I think what she does is she really done a great job of funneling that or channeling that into what needs to happen on the field. She's done a tremendous job of putting in work, this summer she was here, she was training all fall doing the same thing and the game starts to pay you back. I think she sat on the bench for a while and instead of pouting about it she worked and worked and worked."
On Coronavirus One Year Anniversary:
"We're leaders on the Pac-12 of getting out, being able to practice, being able to find a way. You know with President Crow, Dr. Lancaster, we've just done a tremendous job of being leaders and leadership is hard. Leadership isn't always where everyone agrees with you and oftentimes they don't agree with you and then once it starts to fall into place then people start to follow. When I think of ASU I think of that, I think of Dr. Crow really stepped up. I mean our testing, it's just been absolutely insane and obviously that comes directly from Ray Anderson and ultimately Dr. Crow."
MAKENNA HARPER QUOTES
On offensive success this year:
"I think it leads back to just having an approach and just sticking to our plan. I think it's super important that even before the games all week when we're leading up to a game that we practice the plan. So I think just having this great routine and this great culture that our coaches provide us and I think it's just trusting the process and I think you can see that that's really paying off for us."
BRITTANY HOLLAND QUOTES
On starting Pac-12 play:
"We're super antsy and we're hungry and we're ready to get on the field and show what we can do. I think we can compete with the best and I think it's going to be a really exciting year."
On success so far this season:
"I think all of our hard work is finally paying off and we've waited so long to get to this point and to be able to play and we're just all excited to be out there. From top one to nine we're all solid, you just have fun out there."