#10 Sun Devil Softball Sweeps Utah to Win 20th Straight Game
TEMPE, Ariz. – No. 10 Arizona State softball (31-5, 12-0 Pac-12) picked up its 20th consecutive win as well as its fourth conference sweep of the season in the series finale with Utah (20-20, 4-8 Pac-12) on Saturday. It's now the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I softball.
"I thought they did a great job in the box today," head coach Trisha Ford said. "We made some mental miscues but at the end of the day, we found out a way to win a game and that's all that really matters."
In addition to picking up the sweep, this was the 14th game of the season where the Sun Devils had three or more home runs. Junior shortstop Alynah Torres picked up right where she left off last time as she opened up the game for ASU with a leadoff home run, her second consecutive game doing so and the first time this season the Sun Devils have had leadoff homers to begin the game in consecutive games. Also in the bottom of the first inning, freshman Cydney Sanders had a two-run blooper to give ASU the early 3-1 edge.
Mailey McLemore, coming in as a pinch hitter, had a solo home run in the bottom of the third to increase ASU's lead to three.
The Utes made a comeback in the fourth inning after a two-run homer along with three runs being scored on an error. However, the Sun Devils stormed back in their half of the fourth inning as a pass ball went by Yannira Acuña to bring in Jessica Puk and move Savannah Price to third. Kristiana Watson reached on an error to bring in Acuña and Sanders to bring the Sun Devils up by two, 8-6.
Utah had one more run in the top of the sixth to be within one, but a 1-2-3 inning from Lindsay Lopez gave ASU the win after the top of the seventh.
Mac Morgan started in the circle for the Sun Devils where she went for 4.1 innings and had three strikeouts to get her 14th win of the season. Lopez pitched the rest of the game and picked up her second save of the season as she allowed no runs or hits.
After Saturday's win, the Sun Devils are 13-1 over the Utes in the last 14 games. The Sun Devils have also tied their all-time win streak in conference play with 12 wins, the first time since 2011 when they were National Champions.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Arizona State 8, Utah 7
- Alynah Torres hit her second leadoff homer in as many games to give the Sun Devils an early 1-0 lead. Acuña reached base on a walk then Sanders went yard to right field to make it 3-0 for ASU.
- In their half of the second inning, the Utes got on the board off a single after two errors by ASU to make it 3-1. In the Sun Devils half of the second, Price reached base on a walk and Torres had a single, but were left stranded.
- The Sun Devils took care of business in the circle for the top of the third. As a pinch hitter, Mailey McLemore came in with two outs and homered to left center to make it 4-1 for ASU.
- A Utah runner reached base off an error with the bases loaded, which brought in three runs to tie the game 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning. The Utes had a two-run homer to right field to take the lead, 6-4.
- Jessi Puk reached base on a leadoff double where Price then reached next up on a walk. Price then advanced to third on a passed ball, which brought in Puk for the run. Acuña walked, and then a Sanders single brought in Price to tie the game 6-6. Then, Kristiana Watson reached base on an error to bring in two more runs for the Sun Devils from Sanders and Acuña to give ASU an 8-6 lead.
- The Utes got another run on the board in the top of the fifth off a sac fly to center field to cut ASU's lead to one, 8-7. In the Sun Devils half of the fifth frame, Acuña got on base after being hit by a pitch, but was left stranded at first.
- Both teams were scoreless throughout the sixth inning as McLemore reached base for the Sun Devils after being hit by a pitch but was left stranded.
- Lindsay Lopez had a 1-2-3 inning to get the win and series sweep for the Sun Devils in the top of the seventh.
Head coach Trisha Ford
On Today's Performance
"I thought they did a great job in the box today. We made some mental miscues but at the end of the day, we found out a way to win a game and that's all that really matters."
On Alynah's Performance Hitting Leadoff
"Alynah is on fire! She's done a tremendous job at the plate and has been a great leader for us. She loves being up in those situations and thrives to succeed in them."
On Winning 20 Straight Games
"When I was at Fresno State I won 20 in a row. It was a special team, I actually still talk to many of those players from that team. That team has a soft spot in my heart."
On Team's Approach
"We're going to be aggressive and force teams to make plays on us. We're going to continue that whether we're in the first, second, or the seventh inning."
On mentality when down in games
"We were very confident about what we can do and we know regardless of what the score is at the beginning of the game that we're able to pull through. We just have to trust and buy into what we've done and what we do when we're up at the box."
On how team is remaining focused with winning streak
"It's just passed our mind like we're focused on one game at a time. So I think our team has done a really good job of staying present in the moment and then all the outside talk is talking about the winning streak."
Game 1: Thursday 4/14 7:00 p.m. MST Arizona State 10, Utah 9
Game 2: Friday 4/15 6:00 p.m. MST Arizona State 12, Utah 2
Game 3: Saturday 4/16 12:00 p.m. MST Arizona State 8, Utah 7
Arizona State, 12-0
Oregon State, 7-7
USA Softball/ESPN.com - T10
NFCA/USA Today - 13
Softball America - 10
D1 Softball - 11