No. 11 Softball Opens Pac-12 Play at No. 2 UCLA
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 11 Arizona State Softball team travels to the Golden State for the Pac-12 Conference season opener at No. 2 UCLA this weekend. The series includes four games, though one will count as non-conference, starting on Friday, March 19. Saturday and Sunday's games will air on the Pac-12 Network.
ASU (17-2) had its best season start since 2014 after hitting its way to a 10-game winning streak with dubs against Northern Illinois and Baylor last week. ASU went on to suffer only its second loss of the season in game two against Baylor on Sunday.
The series is the first conference competition for the Sun Devils since 2019 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season. Last year, the team was on en-route to UCLA when word of the canceled season spread, and the bus turned around before ever crossing state lines.
SUN DEVIL REWIND
The Sun Devils collected their tenth run-rule victory of the season against Northern Illinois last Tuesday.
Left fielder Makenna Harper was the star of the show, completing the five inning game with 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.
In that same game, Kindra Hackbarth notched a home run and Maddi Hackbarth inked a double that ignited the Sun Devil scoring in the fourth inning.
Two days later, the team gathered at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium to face Baylor University in the first of a two-game series.
M. Hackbarth made her presence known with two home runs through six innings. It was the second time this season that Hackbarth went yard twice in the same game.
Allison Royalty started in the circle and threw her 50th collegiate strikeout in the first inning. She currently leads the staff with 58 in 42 innings pitched.
ASU eventually closed out its preseason schedule with a loss in game two against Baylor on Sunday. The Sun Devils have only one other loss against then-No. 2 Oklahoma in early February.
- Alli Tatnall, Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth, Makenna Harper, Jazmine Hill, and Denae Chatman are all batting above .400.
- Hill's 25 RBI ranks fourth in the Pac-12and second on the squad behind M. Hackbarth through 19 games played.
- ASU's team batting average of 0.388 is ranked fourth in NCAA and first in the Pac-12. The team leads the conference in home runs per game (2.53), on base percentage (0.470), scoring (9.21), slugging percentage (0.762), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.53).
- Once the Sun Devil bats are going, they're gone. The team has notched multiple dingers in a game 13 times this season.
- Chatman leads the grand slam tally with two on the season (against UTEP and Cal State Fullerton)
- M. Hackbarth leads the conference in home runs (12), RBIs (34), slugging percentage (1.263), and total bases (72). Her RBIs and home runs rank fourth and sixth in the nation, respectively. Her .491 batting average ranks second in the 'Conference of Champions' while her 34 RBI leads the Pac by eight.
- With 58 strikeouts, Royalty leads the ASU pitching staff and lands at No. 5 in the conference. Royalty reached the 50th strikeout of her collegiate career against Baylor on Thursday night.
- M. and K. Hackbarth, Tatnall, Hill, Harper, and Chatman all have a batting average above .400.
- Alynah Torres' six home runs are second on the team.
- The Sparky uniforms remained undefeated through the contest with Baylor on Thursday night. The unis are now 9-0 since their debut in February 2020.
- She's got wheels: Kindra Hackbarth's nine stolen bases ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12
HOW TO WATCH
For updates and information on Sun Devil Softball follow the team on Instagram (@sundevilsb) and Twitter (@ASUSoftball). Friday's game is available to watch on the UCLA Live Stream. Saturday's doubleheader and Sunday's single-game will air on the Pac-12 Network.