A Three-Run Walk-Off Homer Solidifies the Series Win Against #4 UCLA
TEMPE, Ariz.- No. 9 Arizona State (37-8, Pac-12 18-3) picked up its first series win over No. 4 UCLA (40-8, Pac-12 16-5) since 2015 in walk-off fashion thanks to sophomore Emily Cazares' three run homer to right center field on Sunday afternoon at Farrington Stadium on Senior Day. The Sun Devils' victory gives ASU a two-game lead for first place in the Pac-12 with three more games left in the regular season.
After the win, the Sun Devils have 18 conference wins under their belt. This will be the third time in program history reaching the feat as it happened during the Women's College World Series run in 2008 and again in 2012.
It was scoreless through the first three innings as it truly defined the pitching battle at hand. The Bruins struck first in the top of the fourth off of three base hits to take a two-run lead, 2-0. They would add on to their lead in the top of the fifth off a home run.
Fifth year senior, Bella Loomis helped the Sun Devils tie things up in the bottom of the sixth after Jazmine Hill doubled, Emily Cazares singled and Jazmyn Rollin walked. Loomis hit a double that blasted to right center, clearing the the bases to tie the game at three runs apiece.
"You always hope that for all of our seniors they get to have a moment, especially on senior day, and for Bella, she deserves that," head coach Trisha Ford said. "She deserves every ounce times 10 and she did a great job of keeping her mental frame in a good calm, steady position and did a great job of executing a pitch when she needed to."
With things tied in the bottom of the seventh, Yanni Acuña reached second with no outs followed by an intentional walk for Cydney Sanders. Emily Cazares came up to bat and homered to right center to give the Sun Devils the walk-off win against the Bruins, the first since March 20 against Oregon State.
Junior Lindsay Lopez got her second start of the weekend for the Sun Devils where she pitched her second complete game of the weekend also. Lopez gave up no walks after facing 29 batters and throwing 76 pitches to pick up her 11th win of the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Arizona State 6, UCLA 3
- With one in the bottom of the first Yanni Acuña drew a walk to get on base. Freshman Cydney Sanders was then hit by a pitch to put runners in first and second for the Sun Devils. Both runners were stranded to end the inning, the score knotted at zero going into the second.
- Both teams failed to reach base in the second, the score was still 0-0 heading into the third inning.
- With one in the bottom of the third, Alynah Torres reached first from an error by the UCLA pitcher. Acuña was then hit by a pitch to place runners on first and second base. At second, Jordyn VanHook was put in to pinch run for Torres. The runners were stranded to end the inning, still a scoreless draw heading into the fourth.
- UCLA scored two runs on three base hits in the bottom of the fourth to take a 0-2 lead.
- With two outs in the fourth, Halle Harger singled into left field to get on base, she was left on first to end the inning. The score was 0-2 UCLA heading into the fifth inning.
- A solo UCLA home run brought their lead to 0-3 in the fifth.
- Senior Bella Loomis singled on the first pitch she saw to lead the Sun Devils off in the bottom of the fifth. That's all ASU could get going, the score was still 0-3 UCLA.
- In the bottom of the sixth, Jazmine Hill doubled down the left field line to lead off the Sun Devils. This was followed by a single from Emily Cazares to put runners on the corners. Jazmym Rollin then drew a walk to load the bases for the Sun Devils. With two outs, Loomis sent a bases clearing double into right center to tie up the game at 3-3.
- In the bottom of the seventh, Acuña reached second with no outs. UCLA then intentionally walked Sanders to put runners at first and second for the Sun Devils. Hill grounded out to first to advance the runners to third and second. Next up at the plate, Cazares launched a three-run home run to right center field. The Sun Devils walked off the game with a final score of 6-3.
Head coach Trisha Ford
On Team's Approach
"I'm proud of our fight ans tenacity. Faraimo is a stellar pitcher andshe's gonna take them very far as well with their offense. I thought today we kept putting pressure on them and Bella came up big for us in the sixth inning. That doesn't happen if those people in front of her don't get on and t it was just a tremendous job by everybody.
On Lopez's Performance this Weekend
"She does a great job changing speeds and to be an effective pitcher and to compete at this level you have to be able to hit spots and change speeds. Lindsay is able to do that and she's able to execute it in pivotal situations. She's worked really hard and has put in hours upon hours in the bullpen and her headspace. She's done a great job getting herself ready and prepared. I can't talk enough about how important that is."
On the comeback win
"Bella started it off for us, I think that was a big momentum change for our whole team just because we were dowm by three ans sometimes it seems like a lot even though it isn't. But as soon as Bella hit that we knew we had her and UCLA. Jaz and I were talking about how we were on her and can hit her. I think once that's in our brains, that we're better than Megan it's manifesting greatness for yourself."
On next week's series
"Everybody's excited, I think this is what we need and how we are every weekend. The energy doesn't really leave ever."
Grad infielder Bella Loomis
On her approach to her game-tying double in the bottom of the sixth inning
"Even from my first at-bat, I laid it down well. So I just took that confidence into my next at-bat and I took the confidence from that at-bat into my third one. I just keep calm and just keep sticking to the plan for this year and it has its ups and downs and it feels great."
On emotions going into the final home game
"I honestly just kept it the same. That's what I do best is just staying loose, keeping the same routines and it was some surreal moments. We weren't going to stop until we won, I think the approach was not quitting coming into this."
- Sun Devil Softball is 31-0 when scoring more than six runs this season as they remain undefeated in conference play at Farrington Stadium.
- Five Sun Devils have 10 or more home runs on the season. (Yanni Acuña, Jazmine Hill, Alynah Torres, Jazmyn Rollin and Cydney Sanders).
- ASU is 4th in the nation in home runs per game with an average of 2.00 per game.
- The Sun Devils are fourth in the nation in team on-base percentage (.439) and are third in team slugging percentage (.650), as that stat is first in the Pac-12.
- ASU is first in the Pac-12 in on-base percentage and in home runs (84).
- The Sun Devils are ninth in the country in team batting average with a .334. .
- Acuña and Sanders are 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the Pac-12 in batting average. They are also 1st and 2nd, respectively, in on-base percentage in the Pac-12.
- True freshman Cydney Sanders leads the Sun Devils with 17 home runs. She also leads the team with 53 RBIs. Sanders' slugging percentage of .982 is second in the conference and is fourth in the country.
- In the circle, Lindsay Lopez leads the Sun Devils with a 1.48 ERA.
- Yanni Acuña and Cydney Sanders to USA Softball's Top 25 Finalist List for the 2022 College Player of the Year.
Game 1: Friday 5/6 5:00 p.m. MST ASU 6, UCLA 1
Game 2: Saturday 5/7 4:00 p.m. MST ASU 3, UCLA 9
Game 3: Sunday 5/8 12:00 p.m. MST ASU 6, UCLA 3
USA Softball/ESPN.com - 9
NFCA/USA Today - 12
Softball America - 11
D1 Softball - 11