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Watson Hits Walk-Off Home Run to Defeat #13 Duke

Feb 13, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz.- On the third day of the Kajikawa Classic, the Sun Devils kept the fans on their toes with the score going back and forth, but Arizona State (3-1) found themselves the upset win against #13 Duke (3-1) late Saturday night with a walk-off home run from redshirt freshman Kristiana Watson.

Watson's walk-off home run is her first home run as a Sun Devil. 

Allison Royalty had her second start of the season pitching 5 innings with six strikeouts. Lindsay Lopez came in for Royalty at the top of the fifth inning, where she pitched 1.1 innings striking out two batters. Mac Morgan came in to replace Lopez at the top of the sixth inning where she faced her only two batters of the game. Royalty re-entered the game for the Sun Devils at the top of the seventh inning to finish up her start.
The first and second innings remained scoreless for both teams to start the game. The Sun Devils highlighted both innings with two impressive defensive plays. Jessica Puk picked off the lead-off base runner attempting to steal second in the first and Yanni Acuña with a diving catch in foul territory in the second. The Sun Devils ended the first two innings with a combined two hits while Duke remained hitless, the score tied at 0-0. The scoreless tie continued all the way through the third inning. 
Duke broke the scoring drought in the fourth with one run off of two hits to give themselves the 0-1 lead. The Sun Devils answered immediately in their half of the fourth with a leadoff double by Acuña. Next up Alynah Torres came up with an RBI single to score Acuña, bringing the ballgame to a 1-1 tie. Next up to bat was Cydney Sanders who doubled into left-center to bring in Savannah Price, who pinch ran for Torres, giving the Sun Devils the 2-1 lead. Kristiana Watson singled into shallow left field to score Sanders, bringing the score to 3-1. Emily Cazares, who came in to pinch run for Watson, advanced to second after Jazmyn Rollin got hit by a pitch. With a double from Makenna Harper Cazares and Rollin, both scored, extending the Sun Devil lead to 5-1.
Duke responded quickly with a one-run home run in the top of the fifth inning, cutting the ASU lead to 5-2. Lopez came in for Royalty at the top of the fifth inning, ending the Sun Devil half of the inning with her first strikeout. Heading into the sixth inning the Sun Devils hold the lead 5-2.
With a runner on first base, Duke hit a two-run home run to cut deeper into the Sun Devil lead, bringing the score to 5-4. Mac Morgan entered the game to replace Lopez at the top of the sixth inning. Duke reclaimed the lead 5-6 on three hits to end the inning. Pinch hitter Marissa Schuld led off with a single for the Sun Devils followed by another single by a pinch hitter Mailey McLemore. With two runners on base Jazmine Hill hit an RBI single to bring the game back to a draw, 6-6. 

Royalty reentered to pitch for the Sun Devils at the top of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded Royalty walked the batter giving Duke the 6-7 lead. At the Sun Devils' last chance at bat, Cydney Sanders collected her third hit of the night leading off the inning with a single for the Sun Devils. The following hitter, Watson, called the game with a two-run walk-off home run bringing the final score to 8-6. 
UP NEXT: ASU will finish up the Kajikawa Classic with their second matchup against Missouri State at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, and the game can be viewed on the ASU Live Stream.
 Coach Trisha Ford
On Watson's performance:
I'm super happy for Watts. She is somebody that puts in the work, and she's going to be something special. It's great to see all of her work kind of come to fruition in that at- bat.
On Cydney Sanders: 
I'm going to enjoy watching her. She's very professional, you can coach her hard and she just knows how to make adjustments.  I'm like, man, four years of this, like, how, good is she going to be? 
Cydney Sanders
On today's game:
There's a lot of energy coming from us as a whole. We love to compete and we competed today. Even when we were making errors. I would keep telling the pitchers and everyone we got this. 
On playing ranked teams:
We love the fight and we love to take action against other teams that are ranked higher than us where we belong. We feel like we belong at the top and we're going to show everyone that we belong.
Kristiana Watson
On tonight's performance:
It was incredible and an amazing feeling, especially with that game being a complete battle from beginning to end.  Last year I had a lot going on, so to be able to come back opening weekend and have this moment it's very surreal.