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Watson's Grand Slam Brings No.8 Softball over CSUF

May 21, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz.-  In a late game comeback featuring a grand slam by pinch hitter Kristiana Watson, No.8-seeded Arizona State (40-9) took down Cal State Fullerton (36-21) on Friday evening in the first game of the Tempe Regionals, hosted at Alberta B. Farrington Stadium. It's the first time since the 2018 season that the Sun Devils have accumulated 40 wins.
 
Through a scoreless two innings, the Sun Devils got on the board first in the bottom of the third as Yanni Acuña hit a home run to left field to increase her hitting streak to three games and to notch her 13th homer of the season.
 
CSUF got on the board in the top of the sixth off a single to put it ahead 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.
 
The Sun Devils saw a series of pinch runners in the bottom of the sixth inning, which included Emily Cazares, Mailey McLemore and Kristiana Watson. With the bases loaded and one out, Watson hit a grand slam in her fifth home run of the season to give the Sun Devils the 5-2 lead.
 
"Watson's kind of our quiet assassin," head coach Trisha Ford said. "Her teammates love her and she works her tail off. So, I think the game never lies."
 
After starting consecutive games last weekend in Seattle, freshman Mac Morgan started in the circle for the Sun Devils' first game of Regionals weekend. She reached a career high in strikeouts with nine during the complete game she pitched, the sixth of the season to secure her team-high 17th win of the season.

With Friday's win over the Titans, the Sun Devils will play in the first game on Saturday against San Diego State who defeated LSU in game one at the Tempe Regionals. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. with it featured on ESPN+.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED:
ASU 5, CSU FULLERTON 2

  • Mac Morgan picked up three early strikeouts to have a quick inning going into the Sun Devils' half of the first.
  • In the leadoff spot, Alynah Torres was walked to get on base right away for ASU. With two out and no one on base, Cydney Sanders singled to left field which was followed by a walk from Jaz Hill, but both runners were left stranded going into the second inning.
  • Fullerton had a base runner after a single down the left field line with one out, but Morgan picked up her fourth strikeout in two innings along with a groundout to keep things scoreless.
  • In the bottom half of the frame, Halle Harger got on first after being hit by a pitch and Puk helped Harger advance to second after also being hit by a pitch, but the game remained scoreless as the two runners were left stranded.
  • Morgan struck out two more batters for strikeouts five and six of the evening to keep it 0-0 going to the Sun Devils' half of the third inning.
  • Yanni Acuña led off ASU by going yard to left field to give ASU the 1-0 edge. Next up to bat was Sanders, who reached first on a walk and made it to second on a groundout, but was left stranded.
  • The Titans had two runners on base with two out, but a groundout to Morgan helped keep the Sun Devils ahead 1-0 going into the bottom of the fourth. CSUF had a 1-2-3 inning going into the fifth inning.
  • With two out, the Titans had a baserunner on a double, but the first half of the fifth frame ended on a pop up. Sanders singled to right field to have a Sun Devil runner on base, but was left on base going into the final two innings.
  • In the bottom of the sixth, Emily Cazares reached on an error to have a leadoff runner and Makenna Harper got on first from a walk. With two on with one out, pinch hitter Mailey McLemore was walked to load the bases. Kristiana Watson was the third pinch runner of the inning and came in clutch with a full count, and hit a grand slam to give the Sun Devils a 5-2 lead. Acuña singled to the shortstop and advanced to second on the throw with two out and was left stranded.
  • The Titans had a runner on first off a hit by pitch, but Morgan and the ASU defense took care of things in the circle and on the field to hold on for the win.

 
QUOTES
Head coach Trisha Ford
On Today's Game
It's postseason, everybody is ready to play. I thought Mac did a great job of working and was pleased with her performance. We preach that everybody 1-19 contributing and tonight we showed that. I think it really says a lot about them to came off the bench, Emily, Mailey and obviously Watson.
 
On Yanni Acuña's home run
"Our game plan going into tonight was to really zone in on good pitches because I thought if we did that we would be able to square up some balls, so I thought Yanni did a great job of zoning in."
 
Freshman Kristiana Watson
On approach coming out to bat tonight and having friends and family watching her
"In that situation, I was just doing my best to keep it simple and hit something hard to boost my team. It was very special, my family is always here and they don't miss a game, so having them here in this moment was great."
 
On how the hit felt and battling through long at-bat
"I knew it was hit hard and it was going borderline at the top of the fence, but I had a feeling and as I was running down it was still going. I was definitely looking for a specific pitch at the beginning, but in a 3-2 count I was trying to keep it simple and drive something hard."
 
 
Freshman Mac Morgan
On starting in first regional game as a freshman
"Tonight felt awesome, it was a great opportunity for me as a freshman to really learn what the feelings are actually like and learn how to deal with them. Feeling that pressure being up only one run (in the top of the third) makes you think and mentally prepare yourself for the next pitch and where you want to put it."
 
On preparing for her next start in circle
"For me, building off of that is taking it slow, pitch by pitch. I know I have all of the tools I need to be complete."
 
 
TEMPE REGIONAL SCHEDULE
 
Friday, May 20, 2022
Game 1 – 5:00pm - San Diego State 10  v. LSU 5
Game 2 – 7:30pm - ASU 5 v. Cal State Fullerton 2
 
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Game 3 – 2:00 p.m.- San Diego State vs. ASU
Game 4 – 4:30 p.m.- LSU vs. Cal State Fullerton
Game 5 – 7:00 p.m.- Between Game 4 Winner and Game 3 Loser
 
Sunday, May 22, 2022
Game 6 – 3:00 p.m.- Between Game 3 Winner and Game 5 Winner
Game 7 (if necessary) – 5:30 p.m.