Road to Oklahoma City Starts Now
Tempe - It's a new season for head coach Trisha Ford and the Arizona State softball team. The program said goodbye to 11, but returned nine starters including offensive threats Makenna Harper, Jazmine Hill and Yanni Acuña to their roster of 19.
Entering her sixth season in Tempe, coach Ford has the necessary tools in her box to lead the Sun Devils onward to victory.
The Sun Devils are starting the season ranked No. 21 in the nation by ESPN.com/USA Softball, Softball America, USA Today/NFCA and DI Softball.
In the Pac-12 preseason rankings, the Sun Devils were placed at No. 5.
Individually the Sun Devils have two players ranked in Softball America's postseason rankings. Senior outfielder Makenna Harper and junior outfielder Jazmine Hill were ranked 86th and 83, respectively. Harper hit .342 with 10 HRs and 34 RBI, while Hill hit .347 with 10 HRs and 40 RBI.
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 1, 2022
Welcome to Club Farrington!
The Sun Devils signed three highly-rated recruits who look to make an impact in their first season in Tempe. Mac Morgan, a highly touted pitcher who brings the heat when she's in the circle, will be joined by her battery mate, Liliana Thomas, a catcher with the ability to go yard every time she's at the plate. Playing behind them is Cydney Sanders, an infielder, and the ninth overall player in her class according to Extra Inning. The three freshmen will look to make an impact on the team as they chase a Pac-12 Championship.
New faces in the Maroon and Gold:
Along with three signees, Coach Ford went out and got two transfers from the SEC that will make an immediate impact on the diamond. Jessica Puk, a catcher who came from Ole Miss, will help guide a young, promising rotation featuring Mac Morgan and Allison Royalty. In her last season in Oxford, Puk led the team in runs (34) and walks (29). Puk was a 2018 SEC First Year honor Roll and NFCA Easton Scholar Athlete, and in 2019 was recognized on the SEC Spring Honor Roll.
Joining Puk is Jazmyn Rollin, a transfer from Mizzou. Rollin is a swiss army knife player as she can play anywhere on the diamond. During her time as a Tiger, Rollin hit 17 home runs and led the team in stolen bases during her freshman year. In her last year with the Tigers, Rollin was smoldering at the plate as she hit .364 with five doubles, a triple, and seven home runs before having her season cut short due to the start of the pandemic. At Mizzou, Rollin was named to the 2019 All-SEC Freshman team and an NFCA / Schutt Sports Freshman of the Year - Top 25 Finalist, and in 2020 was named to the SEC Spring Honor Roll.
Welcome to the LASER SHOW:
Last season the Sun Devils were not to be messed with when stepping into the plate. As a team, the Sun Devils hit 95 home runs, the most since 2013. During the 2021 season, the Sun Devils were ranked in the top-25 in the country in team batting average and ranked second in home runs per game (1.94).
Five Sun Devils hit ten or more home runs, including super senior Maddi Hackbarth who tied the school record of 20 home runs. The Sun Devils are returning key bats this year as Alynah Torres, Jazmine Hill, and Makenna Harper, who combined to hit 30 bombs, will look to lead the offense. Other notable returners to hit home runs are Yannira Acuna, Bella Loomis, Savanna Price and Mailey Mclemore.
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 5, 2022
In the Circle:
The Sun Devils return two starters from last year, with sophomore Allison Royalty and junior Lindsay Lopez contributing throughout the season. Redshirt sophomore Marissa Schuld will also be active after having to sit out last year due to in-conference transfer rules. The trio of Lopez, Royalty, and Schuld will look to mentor and guide freshman pitcher Morgan.
Lopez and Royalty were a 1-2 punch last year as both pitchers took big steps in their development under Ford. Lopez compiled a 16-7 record with a 2.88 ERA, while Royalty pitched to an 11-6 record with a 3.27 ERA in her freshman campaign. Royalty also struck out 121 batters and was the fastest freshman pitcher to record 100 strikeouts since Dallas Escobedo in 2011.
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 3, 2022
Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself, My Name is Schuld:
Schuld, who didn't play last year due to the in-conference transfer rule, will look to break out and contribute on the mound and at the plate. The former Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, Schuld hit .350 and pitched in three scoreless appearances the last time she was out on the field during her time at the University of Arizona.
Leave it Out on the Diamond:
The Sun Devils open up their season on Feb. 10 against California Baptist University and Oklahoma State University in the Kajikawa Classic at Alberta B. Farrington Stadium. For the 2022 season, the Sun Devils will face more than 10 teams that made the postseason last year. Fans can expect big matchups in the upcoming weeks against Duke, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Portland State, Texas, Texas State, Texas A&M, and Seattle.
Fans can keep up with all the news and action of Sun Devil Softball by following @ASUSoftball on Twitter and Facebook and SunDevilSB on Instagram.