ASU Silences BU with Two Maddi Hackbarth Home Runs
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State softball team won their tenth consecutive game in a victory backed by a stellar performance from Maddi Hackbarth, who sent two home runs over the wall in the 7-4 victory against Baylor on Thursday night at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium.
M. Hackbarth furthered her lead in the Pac-12 Conference home run race with 12 so far on the season. Last year in 29 games, the then-senior collected nine. She notched four RBI against Baylor to improve her conference-leading 34 RBI through 18 games. The fifth year jumped to the front of ASU's batting average against BU, nailing a .491 through 17 starts.
"I think I've put in a lot of work in every aspect of hitting,whether that's mental, physical, emotional," M. Hackbarth said. "I put in the work and I think that it's paying off, I'm just trying to keep it simple, not think too much about what I'm doing... I feel pretty locked in right now."
BALLERS ONLY ??@Maddihack23 IS NOT MESSING AROUND
B4 | 7-2 ASU pic.twitter.com/6uyRPWyQUc
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 12, 2021
Allison Royalty started in the circle for the Sun Devils and held the Bears to just five hits, two of which came in the seventh inning, and recorded eight strikeouts and just one walk in 6.2 innings pitched to improve her record to 5-1. Behind Royalty, the Sun Devil defense made some plays in the field highlighted by this absolute gem from Halle Harger.
HALLE... WHAT ????
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 12, 2021
"I thought we did a really good job tonight of keeping our foot on the gas pedal, and keeping that pressure and I don't feel like she (Gia) ever felt comfortable in the circle. Offensively we did a tremendous job of putting her in that situation," said Coach Ford on the team's offensive adjustment against Baylor's pitcher.
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils will face the Bears back at Farrington for a Sunday morning game at 10:00 AM MST. Limited attendance is allowed for fans, but the game will also be watchable via the Arizona State Live Stream.
ASU 7, Baylor 4
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Baylor struck first with a run in the top of the first inning, but Royalty ended the inning with two strikeouts.
- In the bottom of the first, Maddi Hackbarth tied the game at one with a two out solo shot to center. A Torres single and Tatnall double and a walk to Denae Chatman had the bases loaded for Makenna Harper, but a grounder to the second baseman ended the inning.
- Royalty and Sun Devil defense kept BU scoreless at the top of the second. ASU stayed quiet in the second.
- Baylor added a run in their half of the third, ASU left one stranded while at bat and fell behind 1-2.
- The top of the fourth ended with a great defensive play by M. Hackbarth to catch a runner at second. Bella Loomis tied the game after a defensive error with two runners in scoring position. A bases-loaded double off the wall from Jazmine Hill followed, and brought home Loomis and Harper to put the Sun Devils up 4-2. M. Hackbarth sent her second home run of the night over the right field wall to clear the bases and extend the Sun Devil lead 7-2.
- The fifth inning and sixth innings were quiet for both teams as each inning ended with ASU leaving a runner on base.
- Royalty gave up a two run two home run and a single with two outs, which prompted a pitching change to Cielo Mesa for the final out and secured a 7-4 victory for the Sun Devils.
- Allison Royalty notched her 50th strikeout of the season in the top of the first inning.
- WIth two home runs tonight, M. Hackbarth continues to lead the Pac-12 with 12 home runs.
- Allison Royalty leads the pitching staff with 57 strikeouts this season.
QUOTES WITH COACH FORD
On recruiting Maddi:
"I recruit kids that love softball, and I feel like are going to put the work in, and both Maddi and Kindra were recruited at a very high level, and I think when things work out, I made sure I was still around, and I think you've really seen the progression of Maddi. She's put in a lot of work. This is all her sitting down with Coach Harger, and I think the world of Coach Harger, and look at our kids their first year and every year that he's been with them, I just think it's impressive. I just say I look good for hiring him, so that's what I'm good at, and I stay out of his way. I want them to get the credit because she's (Maddi) the one that has put in the work, she's the one that wants to be great, and I think that's what I recruit. They don't want to be good, they want to be great, they want to be the best, and they need to do it for unselfish reasons."
On Maddi's offensive run:
"I want to put our heads down and keep working. That's kind of what we do here. We don't really talk about it; we keep going to work, and that's what she's doing. She's doing a great job of focusing up and not letting it get too big or too small, and I think that's what's really important for her. Baylor's going to come out on Sunday, and they're going to have a different plan, and they're going to attack her in a different way, and she's come in, I guarantee you, and get some extra work in, she'll watch film, and that's the reason why she's been so successful. I always say the game knows. If you're prepared, then you don't feel pressured."
On Allison Royalty's early starts gaining experience:
"I think she did a really good job and worked both sides of the plate today, which I think is an improvement from her Oklahoma game. I thought her changeups she had better command. For me, this is what I want. I am going to give her the hard. Embrace the hard. Love the hard. That's why you're here. She's upset with herself, but I thought she threw a really good game and she's just gonna get better. She's gonna learn from this. You have to look at the big picture; she's a freshman dealing with a lot of different things. It's not a normal year. I didn't really get to work with her this fall, so she is who she is, and I think we're just going to keep getting better. When you look at next year and the years to come, you're going to see some more development out of her. I am pleased with her, but there's still some room to grow, and I think she'll be the first one to tell you that."
On conversation with Allison after tough innings:
"It's really about staying in her routine and not letting her frustration get the best of her. You can see that she kind of started to work fast at the end, and that's what our conversation is really about. It's not really about the results; it's about her process and what that looks like. What does her routine look like? You can see the anger, and she just gets so mad at herself. She has complete ownership over her pitches because she knows how good she can be, but on the same token, I would like her to let go of the results and live a little more in the moment. That's just maturity, and that's really what a lot of our conversations are. Controlling the things that she can control."
On adjustments to Baylor's pitcher the second time around:
"I think Gia is a high-caliber pitcher that's taken Baylor to the World Series, and she's also a sixth year like Cielo, so she has experience. She is very savvy. I think she changes speedwell, she's got a nasty changeup, and I think all of those things combined, we made a lot of wild outs. Even in that first inning, that second inning, we hit six balls on the nail that just didn't fall. I thought we did a really good job; we could go one of two ways as a team, thinking it's never going to fall. I thought we did a really good job tonight of keeping our foot on the gas pedal and keeping that pressure, and I don't feel like she (Gia) ever felt comfortable in the circle. Offensively we did a tremendous job of putting her in that situation."