Someone Said Upset. Softball Said Bet.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The game isn't over until the final out, and the No. 14 Arizona State softball team (18-6, 1-3) amplified that message in a comeback upset of fellow Pac-12 competitor, the No. 6 Washington Huskies (22-3, 2-1) on Friday night. Tied 4-4 in the seventh inning, Kindra Hackbarth demonstrated the art of baserunning, stealing home off of a pickle situation to hand ASU its first conference win of the season.
When head coach Trisha Ford says Sun Devil Softball is never out of a ball game, she means it. Down 4-0 through four innings, ASU hit, pitched, stole bases, drew walks, and executed baserunning to collect the walk-off, 5-4, win against UW.
NEVER GIVE UP ON A PLAY pic.twitter.com/4kO8AtHk1P
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 27, 2021
"There is no panic in Kindra in the rundown, and I think you guys could all see that, and she just kept working and executed, and obviously we spent a lot of time on baserunning, and when she saw an opening, she took advantage of it," Coach Ford said on the Sun Devils seventh-inning comeback. "So I thought we just executed, and I've said this before, base running will win or lose you ball games, and tonight it won us a ball game."
All three members of the pitching staff made an appearance for the Sun Devils after pitcher Cielo Meza started the game in the circle. Allison Royalty and Lindsay Lopez entered as relief and played an important role in holding the Huskies scoreless in the final three innings.
The Sun Devils stayed silent for the first four innings of the game with no runs but gave up four hits to UW, who jumped on an early lead. It was not until the bottom of the fourth inning that ASU's offense answered back with two runs to cut the UW lead to just two. The Sun Devils offensive streak continued late in the fifth, where they tied the game at four off a double from Jazmine Hill.
The sixth inning remained scoreless, but at the bottom of the seventh, the Sun Devils had the winning run with K. Hackbarth on third after a one-out double and error on the Huskies center fielder that saw Kindra advance to third. She ended the game after nearly getting caught in a pickle situation with Jazmine Hill standing on third at one point, but Kindra's quick thinking allowed her to notice the throwback to second and allowed her to run home.
CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME? pic.twitter.com/K8ZWXodkAk
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 27, 2021
"I don't think I was really thinking anything besides being safe any possible way," Kindra said of her baserunning strategy. We work in those situations at practice. It's kind of what I live for, is baserunning, and it was just a normal play that we always do."
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils face Washington three more times this weekend at Farrington Stadium with two games Saturday at 2:00 p.m./5:00 p.m. MST and one game on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. MST. Two of the remaining three games will count as Pac-12 conference play for the two teams.
ASU 5, Washington 4
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Meza gave up a trio of two-out hits, and the Huskies got on the board first with a 1-0 lead. The Sun Devils stayed quiet during the bottom of the first.
- Meza gave up a solo home run at the top of the second, and Allison Royalty took over in the circle. Makenna Harper is the first Sun Devil on base at the bottom of the second.
- Royalty retired the side to put the Sun Devils at-bat. Kindra Hackbarth singled to second base and was left stranded to end the third inning.
- Washington was able to add on two more runs and took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. M. Hackbarth's walk and Torres single set up a fielder's choice for Tatnall and brought the Sun Devils the first run of the game across the plate. Harper's second hit of the game brought in Savannah Price from second to cut the UW lead to two.
- The bottom of the fifth started with a walk by Loomis and a single from K.Hackbarth to set up Hill with a double to right-center field, tying the game 4-4.
- Lindsey Lopez took over in the circle for Royalty with two outs in the sixth and retired the UW batter to strand a Husky on base. The game remained tied through six.
- Lopez stranded a two-out walk and set the Sun Devils up to end the game in the bottom of the seventh. K. Hackbarth tripled with one out to put the winning run at third, and Hill followed with a walk. A pickle situation ended the game as the Huskies couldn't track down K. Hackbarth, and she was able to cross home plate.
On her thoughts on the game-ending play…
"I don't think I was really thinking anything besides being safe any possible way. We work in those situations at practice. It's kind of what I live for, is baserunning, and it was just a normal play that we always do. Mostly Jaz and I run bases because of outfield running, just one way or the other, figure it out and be safe.
On feeling at the plate…
"I was feeling a lot more confident especially coming off of last weekend, just feeling more into myself and putting the past in the past and just moving forward. I was feeling good, though."
On facing top Pac-12 pitchers…
"It's always good facing elite pitching, especially from the top. I kind of think of it as getting it out of the way, and then you get to know what you have and then what you're going to face for the future, especially during the world series or even regional. So that's kind of nice to see that elite pitching from the start. I feel like it's a benefit for us as a team.
On her method to the madness with the game-ending play
"Once I saw Kindra in the rundown, my biggest thing was to make sure I covered her spot or take the place of her and make sure I go to third. Then, once I saw that she was safe, run as fast as you can was my mindset."
On adjustments in her at-bats
"Yeah, Gabby is a great pitcher. The two first at-bats were pretty tough mentally; I think my biggest thing in my third at-bat was to just make sure I breathe and control my third at-bat—just zone in more on seeing the ball low and hitting the pitch."
On drawing a walk in her last at-bat
"My biggest thing was the right side, just put the ball in play, and eventually, something will happen. Kindra has a lot of speed, obviously, so in my head, all I thought was the right side.
After winning after losing four at UCLA
"I think our biggest thing is to not let that affect us. I think, if anything, we should take that out on today's game like we did and just compete and still play our game. We've been preparing all week for this game, so it definitely showed.
On message after being down 4-0:
"I think our biggest thing was to remember that feeling. It wasn't a pretty feeling for any of us, so in our heads coming into this game, we just had to remember that feeling of what it felt like and just take it out and play the game."
On the last play of the game:
"I wish I could say it was, but at the end of the day, we got what we needed. I think it shows a lot. Maddi was unselfish. You know we were going to put down a bunt Kindra's a tremendous base runner. There is no panic in her in the rundown, and I think you guys could all see that, and she just kept working and executed, and obviously, we spent a lot of time on baserunning, and when she saw an opening, she took advantage of it. So I thought we just executed, and I've said this before, base running will win or lose your ball games, and tonight it won us a ball game."
Coming off last weekend's Losses and being down early in the game:
"We had some good talk this week, I felt like our fight kinda got a little overwhelmed and kinda felt defeated, and you could see in their play. I thought the first game, obviously, last week, was really, really good and Lindsey, I thought, threw lights out last week. To be honest with you guys and she had to stay in for a variety of reasons, but I thought she did really well, and so I think tonight we talked, and we harped about it all week long of like love the fight, love the hard, and so I thought we did a really good job of responding, of taking information in from our first at-bats and then making adjustments moving forward. Gabby is a tremendous pitcher, we know this, she's an Olympian, and I think tonight we got one, and we're going to have to come out ready to go because I'm sure she'll be ready for the two tomorrow.
On all three Pitchers on the mound tonight:
"I think we did what we needed to do to win a ball game today, and I think that's our message that we send to them is ya know Cielo went through almost one time of the lineup, then Royalty came in, and I thought she kept us in the ballgame and then Lindsey came in and finished the game for us and really at the end of the day that's what matters is that we get a W, doesn't really matter how it looks. I think moving forward, we kinda talked about this going into conference play, we're going to be a staff, and we're going to be somebody that puts who we think will be a good matchup, and we're gonna go with that, and we'll make some changes. I just think Royalty, like I said, kept us in the ballgame, and I think Lindsey came in and did what she's been doing and, you know, stayed relaxed, executed, and that's what we're asking.