#13 Softball Upsets #8 UA in Series Opener
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Down goes that team from down south! No. 13 Sun Devil Softball (26-10, 7-6) snapped No. 8 Arizona's (26-6, 6-3) 12-game winning streak with a 4-3 team-effort win at Club Farrington on Friday night. Lindsay Lopez went toe-to-toe with UA's batters, escaping a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to notch ASU's first win over UA since 2018.
"We wanted to keep it as simple as we could: get a good pitch, hit it hard, that's what we do," said head coach Trisha Ford. "Royalty did a tremendous job - a freshman pitching - she did great in those three innings, and then Lindsay came in and shut it down. Those are two very young pitchers that came in clutch in some huge moments."
Snapped their win streak ?????? pic.twitter.com/HBCb6vUzRM
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) April 17, 2021
Jazmine Hill set the tone early in the game with a solo home run - the first run scored by ASU against UA since 2018. And the boat didn't stop there. Makenna Harper executed an all-around game, hitting an RBI double and coming huge twice in the outfield with diving catches. Bella Loomis revived the #BellaBomb with a solo home run to extend ASU's lead to 4-2 in the fourth.
"How about Makenna Harper today," Ford continued. "That kid, she is competitive as all get-out and had a tremendous at-bat, made two great plays in the outfield. Super super happy for her. She's worked hard for that."
ZERO PITY FOR THE KITTY ?? pic.twitter.com/dnRtYoV3tY
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) April 17, 2021
The circle was dominated by ASU's younger staff - Allison Royalty and Lindsay Lopez. The freshman Royalty threw 3.1 innings with five ground outs, four four outs and one strikeout in 15 batters faced. Lopez came in as relief in the fourth, picking up right where Royalty left off. The leftie bagged the save with a monumentous performance in the seventh inning that saw three Wildcats stranded.
The two reconvene on Saturday night for some doubleheader action starting at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.. Both games are available on the Pac-12 Network.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Allison Royalty made her 12th start as queen of the circle. She forced two popups and Bella Loomis grabbed the third out to leave two Wildcats stranded.
- Jazmine Hill battled at the plate, pushing Alyssa Denham to a full count. On the sixth pitch, the sophomore big bat went yard for her ninth home run of the year. The Sun Devils closed out the first inning with a 1-0 lead.
- Allison Royalty went three-up, three-down in the second to quickly bring ASU to offense.
- Yannira Acuna led off the inning, she was hit by a pitch. Makenna Harper came to the plate next, hitting a double to right center that allowed Acuna to score on the throw. ASU finished the inning up, 2-0.
- Royalty continued her ice-cold streak, sending three-straight Wildcats back to the dugout.
- ASU loaded the bases with one out in the third. UA walked both Hackbarth twins - putting them on first and second with Alynah Torres up to bat. The sophomore shortstop nailed a shot over the head of the second baseman for a single to right center that loaded the bases.
- Yanni Acuna reached on a fielder's choice that saw Kindra Hackbarth out at home on a throw from shortstop to the catcher. Bases remained loaded with Makenna Harper at-bat. The UA pitcher issued another walk to Harper to load the bases and bring in a run. Harper collected an RBI on the walk and the Sun Devils extended their lead to 3-0 with the bases loaded. That would eventually be the end of the inning.
- In the top of the fourth, the Wildcats closed in on the Sun Devil lead - hitting a two-run home run. Sophomore left-hander Lindsay Lopez came in as relief and shut off the power switch on UA.
- Bella Loomis answered back, hitting a home run to center field on the fourth pitch, to extend ASU's lead, 4-2, with one out. The Wildcats intentionally walked Kindra Hackbarth in the next at-bat, but the next two ASU batters struck out.
- The ASU defense showed out in the top of the fifth inning with a diving catch from left fielder Makenna Harper. In the next at-bat, second baseman Brittany Holland made a leaping catch to secure the team's second out. The Sun Devils returned to the plate with the score still, 4-2.
- UA snuck one more run on the board in the sixth inning, but Lopez showed control on the mound and stopped the Wildcat offensive push. ASU was scoreless in the sixth.
This catch was AMAZING!!! https://t.co/7ozCC2hQQp
— Trisha Ford (@Trisha_Ford) April 17, 2021
COACH TRISHA FORD
On Lindsay Lopez
"She did a great job of finishing that game. They had their part of the lineup that they wanted up to go into that seventh inning and we had a little strategy that ended up paying off well for us. She made big pitches when she had to. Alyssa Palomino had a tremendous at-bat that last at-bat, she is a superstar for a reason. Lindsay stayed in her zone, focused and on her task and made some big pitches. That change up was nasty. Executed big time for us."
On Bella's home run:
"Bella comes back that next inning - and that's the punch back that Coach K has really been working on with the team from his blueprint... We did a great job of staying calm and within ourselves and competing in the box."
On big catch:
"If I'm gonna be honest. It was just see ball, catch ball. Do what you've got to do. I knew that if that ball dropped, then those runs are scoring, so that was a huge turning point in the game, making that catch. Thank you to Kindra for communicating with me. But honestly it felt good to see the runner trot back to first base."
On adjustment at the plate:
"I was thinking and hoping that Denham was going to attack early because once I saw a pitch, I knew I was going. So I think attacking early in the zone helped us a lot in this game."
On getting runs early:
"Our team showed that we can play with anyone in the country. Defense is working. Pitching is working. And our hitting is working - and that's when we're at our best. We're the best when we score on top as well, so I think that's really important for us."
On being an Arizona native and knowing what the ASU/UA rivalry means:
"It feels really good. I knew from the start that us playing them was going to be a tough game and that it was going to come down to the last inning. Towards that last inning I just had to follow my routine, keep my heart rate down and just relax and do my stuff."
On last inning:
"Going into the game, my heart rate was way higher. But I just have to slow myself down and get that heart rate down again with it. I had an at-bat like that against Washington when it was just pitch after pitch and she was getting everything, just fouling them off. I knew that this time, I was going to win and I had my defense to back me up with that which is great."
On defensive plays boosting her confidence in the circle:
"It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders to know that they're there to back me up. They're great to have back there."