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Arizona State Wins Pac-12 Softball Title Outright

May 14, 2022

SEATTLE - No. 4 Sun Devil Softball took down No. 10 Washington, 5-2, in the rubber match of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon.

On Huskies' All-American Gabbie Plain's senior day, it was Arizona State (39-9, 20-4) who played spoiler, slugging their way past Washington to earn their 20th conference victory. Coming into the game, Plain had lost eight times at home in her career and gave up only ten home runs on the season. The Sun Devils were able to overcome a lively crowd, hitting three home runs off Plain while handing her only her ninth career loss at Husky Softball Stadium. Thanks to the win Arizona State clinches the outright Pac-12 Softball Championship.

In the final regular season game after having already clinched a share of the title, Head Coach Trisha Ford's team could have rested on their laurels. Instead, they picked up their second straight Top-10 series win in impressive fashion, doing so on the road.
 
Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cydney Sanders made a late Pac-12 Player of the Year argument, launching her 19th and 20th home runs of the season. The first got the Sun Devils on the board in the top of the third inning, as she drilled a three-run blast off Plain to left. The second one had just enough to center to match the single season program record for home runs. Jazmine Hill, one of five Sun Devils at double figures in home runs, went back-to-back with Sanders hitting a solo homer in the top of the third inning to put ASU ahead 4-0 after the top of the third inning.
 
Freshman Mac Morgan got the call for the second day in a row and was extremely effective. To start the game, Morgan retired the first 12 batters she faced with four strikeouts through the first four innings. She ended up with a her career high six strikeouts, dealing over 6.2 innings. Lindsay Lopez came in to pitch with two out in the bottom of the seventh, getting the final out on a pop up to pick up her third save of the season.

PAC-12 CHAMPIONS

  • This is the first Pac-12 Championship for the program since 2011.
    • Only the third time they have ever won the conference, also previously winning in 2008.
  • Softball becomes the third Arizona State team to win a Pac-12 Championship during the 2021-22 athletic year (Wrestling, Gymnastics)
  • Arizona State will receive the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12's representative.

HOW IT HAPPENED:
ASU 5, UW 2
 
FIRST INNING
The Sun Devils picked up exactly where they left out last night with Yanni Acuña being walked with one away in the top of the first frame. Acuña got out at second while Cydney Sanders reached first on a fielder's choice, where she was left stranded going to the bottom of the first.
 
Morgan had a quick bottom of the first inning as she faced three batters and threw just seven pitches going into the second inning.
 
SECOND INNING
The Husky defense had a 1-2-3 inning in ASU's half of the second inning to keep things scoreless going into UW's half of the frame.
 
Morgan and the Sun Devil defense had another quick inning in the bottom of the second inning as the freshman pitcher retired six straight batters through the first two innings.
 
THIRD INNING
With two out, Alynah Torres made it to first off a hit by pitch and advanced to second after the next batter Acuña was also hit by a pitch. Cydney Sanders was next to bat and homered over the left field fence to bring in Jordyn Vanhook, the pinch runner for Torres, and Acuna to put ASU ahead 3-0. Next up to bat was Jaz Hill who had a solo home run to left center to put the Sun Devils ahead by four runs.
 
Morgan had back-to-back strikeouts with the batters being struck out looking along with a lineout to center field to remain hitless going into the fourth inning.
 
FOURTH INNING
Jazmyn Rollin had a leadoff single to right field to get the ASU offense started after a four run third inning. Rollin advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt from Halle Harger and Jessi Puk walked to get to first with one out. Both runners were left stranded going into the bottom of the inning.
 
Morgan had her fourth strikeout of the afternoon and the Sun Devil defense produced another 1-2-3 inning going into the final three innings still ahead 4-0.
 
FIFTH INNING
With one out in the top of the fifth, Sanders went yard for the second time of the afternoon with a solo shot to center field to give the Sun Devils the 5-0 lead.
 
The Huskies got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth off a solo home run to center field. UW got its second runner of the inning with a walk and followed up with Morgan's fifth strikeout of the evening and a pop up to end the inning.
 
SIXTH INNING
With two out, Puk reached first on a single to left field, but was left stranded on a strikeout going into the bottom of the inning.
 
In the Huskies' half of the second inning, they had one batter walk with two out and Morgan picked up her sixth strikeout of the evening to get out of the jam going into the final inning.
 
SEVENTH INNING
Acuña singled up the middle in the top of the second to get on base and with two out, Sanders reached base on a fielder's choice, but she was left stranded.
 
A Washington runner reached on fielder's choice, and a single had runners on first and second for the Huskies. UW had a single up the middle bringing in the runner on second to bring the Huskies within three, 5-2. A hit by pitch loaded the bases for Washington where Lopez came into pitch with two out and she got the final out on a pop up by the Huskies to get out of the jam.
 
NOTABLES

  • This is the third conference championship Trisha Ford has won as a head coach in her career, previously taking home the 2015 & 2016 Mountain West Regular Season Championship while at Fresno State.
  • Arizona State won their 20th conference game, the most in single-season program history. It surpasses the previous total of 18 put up during the Women's College World Series run in 2008 and again in 2012.
  • The Sun Devils move to 10-3 in true road games, one of the best winning percentages in the nation away from home.
  • Arizona State hands Washington two losses at home, a team that came in having only loss three times at home all year.
  • ASU came into the weekend 4th in the nation in home runs per game with an average of 1.98 per game and helped that with three today.
  • 2022 Pac-12 Player of the Year Baylee Klingler has struggled against Sun Devil pitching, as she went only 1-for-9 in the series, with the lone hit a harmless single. This is the fewest hits she has had in a series all season and any three-game stretch. 
  • The Sun Devils handed Gabbie Plain just her ninth career loss at home on her senior day. 
    • Plain gave up two home runs in third inning to Cydney Sanders and Jazmine Hill. She had not allowed home runs in the same inning since last year against #1 Oklahoma in the NCAA Super Regional round (May 29th, 2021). Plain had never gave up back-to-back home runs.
  • Cydney Sanders registers her second multi-home run game of the season, the first coming against Cal Poly on March 4th.
    • She now has 20 home runs, matching a single-game program record.
      • Sanders is in elite company, matching Kaitlin Cochran (2009) and Cheyenne Coyle (2013) for the most in school history for one campaign.
      • She'll have plenty of opportunities to break the record in the NCAA Postseason.
    • Sanders is the second player to hit two home runs off Plain in one game.
      • The only other player is Mississippi State's Mia Davidson, who did it back on Feb. 14, 2019.
  • Mac Morgan delivered in a big moment, giving the Sun Devils great length as the starter.
    • She went 6.2 innings and allowed only two runs, earning her 16th victory of the season.
      • The 6.2 is her second longest out of the season, behind only her complete game effort in the win March 27th against Oregon State.

SELECTION SUNDAY 
Arizona State will find out their NCAA Tournament fate tomorrow during the NCAA Softball Selection Show, which starts at 4 PM MST. Tune in to ESPN 2 and stay tuned to our social media accounts for coverage on how the Sun Devils' are seeded on Selection Sunday. ASU has put themselves in a strong position, winning the Pac-12 Championship and going 20-4 in one of the best conferences in the country.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Game 1: Thursday 5/12 7:00 p.m. MST                        UW 3, ASU 1
Game 2: Friday 5/13 5:00 p.m. MST                             ASU 8, UW 4
Game 3: Saturday 5/14 1:00 p.m. MST                         ASU 5, UW 2           
 
SUN DEVILS IN THE RANKINGS
USA Softball/ESPN.com - 4
NFCA/USA Today -  8
Softball America -  5
D1 Softball -  5
 
Fans can keep up with all the news and action of ASU softball this weekend and the rest of the season by following @ASUSoftball on Twitter and Facebook and @SunDevilSB on Instagram.