Sun Devils Take Game Two in Extra Innings over Northwestern
TEMPE- No. 8 Arizona State (43-10) bounced back on Saturday night as it took down No. 9 Northwestern (44-11) in another extra-innings game to force a game three in the Tempe Super Regional. After the win, Sun Devil softball now holds a 3-1 record in extra-inning games for the season and have yet to lose back-to-back games this season.
It also marked just the second time in NCAA Super Regional history the first two games have gone into extra innings. In 2012 Hofstra won the first game in 11 innings, while South Florida won the second in nine.
It was an electric night of offense for Jaz Hill as she accounted for four of ASU's RBIs this evening as she doubled in the first to score Alynah Torres and had a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to bring in Cydney Sanders and Yanni Acuña. Additionally, Jessica Puk went 2-for-3 as she had a double in the top of the eighth to leadoff extra inning play and had a single in the second.
Northwestern got on the board after a double in the bottom of the second and after Hill's home run in the top of the fifth, the Wildcats came within one run in the bottom of the fifth off consecutive base hits.
The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on an error to force extra innings for the second time in two nights.
ASU had an answer in the top of the eighth as Jessi Puk doubled and was the first run of the eighth off Torres reaching on a fielder's choice. After being pitch hit for and reentering, Bella Loomis scored via a double by Acuña. Makenna Harper later walked in Torres for the third run of the inning.
"We let them stick around and so tonight, I could feel it," head coach Trisha Ford said on playing another game in extra-innings. "They were like this is not happening again and we're not at home, so this team fights. We're going to come out punching tomorrow."
The pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts this evening as Lindsay Lopez, who came in the bottom of the third, reached a career high in strikeouts with nine and got her 13th win of the season. Allison Royalty got her first start of the postseason and she struck out three batters she faced.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
ASU 7, Northwestern 4
- The top of the first began with a walk for Alynah Torres and a hit by pitch for Yanni Acuña. Torres and Acuña advanced to third and second off an error with one out. Jaz Hill doubled to left field to bring in Torres to give the Sun Devils the early lead. The Wildcats had a runner on second with one out after a stolen base, but a double play got starting pitcher Allison Royalty out of the jam.
- Jessi Puk had a base hit against the Northwestern pitcher with two outs to have a runner for ASU, but was left stranded in the top of the second. NU loaded the bases and Royalty had consecutive strikeouts to get two quick outs, but an error gave the Wildcats their first run of the game.
- The Sun Devils went down in order in their half of the third inning to keep the game tied up. Going into the bottom of the third, the Wildcats had a double with one out and Lindsay Lopez came in for relief, having a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
- Hill singled to second base to get a start for Arizona State in the top of the fourth. Jazmyn Rollin advanced to third off a fielder's choice from Savannah Price with two out, but was left stranded. Lopez picked up three strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth to keep things tied.
- Acuña reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second off a walk by Cydney Sanders. Hill homered to left field for a three-run shot to give the Sun Devils the lead in the top of the fifth. Consecutive base hits from the Wildcats with one out brought them within one, 4-3, in the bottom of the fifth.
- Jessi Puk was walked to get on first for the Sun Devils in the top of the sixth but was left stranded as Lopez had two strikeouts in the bottom of the sixth.
- Acuña was hit by a pitch for the second time this evening to leadoff the seventh inning for the Sun Devils. She made it to second off Hill's fourth hit of the night on a single to shortstop, but both runners were left on base. An error tied the game up for the Wildcats to force extra innings.
- Puk doubled down the left field line in the top of the eighth and pinch hitter Kristiana Watson singled to left field to bring Puk to third. Torres reached on a fielder's choice to score Puk and Acuña doubled to score Bella Loomis, who came back into run. Sanders was walked to load the bases with one out and Harper walked in Torres to give ASU the 7-4 lead.
- Lopez had two strikeouts along with a groundout to have a 1-2-3 inning to force a game three of the Tempe Super Regional.
Head coach Trisha Ford
On team stepping up in other areas
"Everyone's going to have to contribute. It might not be offensively, it might be base running, it might be bunting, it might be defense but everyone is going to have to contribute. I think that's what's really special about this team is they all have embraced their roles and have really embraced the team first. So if one piece of their game is not going their way, they do a really good job of focusing on other piece."
On plan for pitching tonight and for tomorrow's game
"We've got kind of the whole array of pitchers, obviously Roy is spinning up with a good changeup, she did a great job of keeping them off balance. And we were keeping her in a certain amount of time and Lindsay was scheduled to come in, or Marissa, depending on where we were in the lineup. So, Lindsay got the ball and she ran with it. It's going to take everybody tomorrow, so we're in it."
Pitcher Lindsay Lopez
On coming in midgame instead of starting
"Last season, I always felt like I came in midgame. So I was familiar with it and that feeling of getting into my zone and being comfortable with myself."
On playing at this level as a local student-athlete
"It means a lot knowing I have such close family and friends that are able to come and watch me live. I'm just so happy that I'm able to make it to this point, I put in a lot of hard work and that I was going to be an example for people where I came from."
Outfielder Jaz Hill
On improvements from last night to tonight
"Honestly looking back at it, I just let my emotions take over me yesterday. I feel like seeing as many pitches as I did and like what coach Ford told us, love the hard. So, I definitely loved all of the hard yesterday but recognizing what she's throwing and just focusing more."
On team picking her up
"After missing the ball, that stung a little because I hate letting my team down. But I just love our girls so much and the chemistry we all have because after that everyone was just like 'Jaz, we got you, don't even worry.' So that meant a lot for me, I just love our girls so much."
TEMPE SUPER REGIONAL SCHEDULE VS. NO.9 SEED NORTHWESTERN
Game 1- Friday, May 27- NU 4, ASU 3
Game 2- Saturday, May 28- ASU 7, NU 4
Game 3- Sunday, May 29 at 6:30 PM MST, ESPNU