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Softball Forces Extras at No. 2 UCLA, Falls In Pac-12 Opener

Mar 19, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Amid a Pac-12 Conference pitching battle, junior Makenna Harper hit a clutch solo home run against No. 2 UCLA to force extra innings on Friday night. The No. 11 Arizona State softball team eventually fell, 2-1, in the bottom of the eighth at Easton Stadium. 

The top-15 showdown between ASU (17-3) and UCLA (16-1) continues tomorrow with a doubleheader on the Pac-12 Network. 
 

ASU pitchers Lindsay Lopez and Allison Royalty stifled the UCLA offense, holding them to only two runs through eight innings, the fewest for the Bruins in a win this entire season. 

Harper keeps coming up big in ASU's most-needed moments. The left fielder hit a homer against Northern Illinois last week to secure its 10th run-rule victory. She's also one of only ten players in the nation to hit a home run against the No. 1 Oklahoma pitching staff in 2021. Her five home runs on the season ties with four teammates for second-most on the squad after Pac-12 HR leader Maddi Hackbarth. 

The trio of Jazmine Hill, Denae Chatman, and Maddi Hackbarth can hit but took the opportunity to showcase their defensive flair on Friday night. The right fielder, first baseman, and catcher connected on an incredible final out to send the game to extras. 
 

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The game started as a pitching battle through four innings. Lindsay Lopez started in the circle for the Sun Devils to make her Pac-12 play debut. She faced 15 batters and forced three ground outs and five fly outs. 
  • Lopez gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth and Allison Royalty came in as relief, also making her Pac-12 debut. 
  • Royalty went to work in the circle, throwing three-up, three-down in back-to-back innings. Her three strikeouts kept the Sun Devils within one entering the seventh inning.
  • Down 1-0 at the top of the seventh, Makenna Harper entered as the leadoff hitter. The junior homered to left field to tie the score 1-1.
  • UCLA looked hungry to close out the game in the bottom of the seventh, but Royalty protected her throne and helped carry the Sun Devils into extras. 
  • With two outs, Jazmine Hill, Denae Chatman, and Maddi Hackbarth connected on a beautiful defensive play to collect the final out of the seventh inning. A right line hit went deep in the outfield, and Hill threw to Chatman as UCLA's runner rounded third. Racing against the runner, Chatman threw to catcher Hackbarth at home, who landed the out at the home plate and sent the Sun Devils to extras. 
  • The Sun Devils couldn't get a runner on base in the top of the eighth, and Royalty again took to the mound. With a runner on first, UCLA's second batter hit a double for an RBI, allowing the Bruins to sneak past the Sun Devils with a 1-2 win.