TEMPE – The No. 22 Arizona State University softball team continued its early-season roll, improving to 6-0 on the year with victories over Portland State and San Diego on Sunday, the penultimate day of the 2016 Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils shook off a sluggish start to handle Portland State, 7-1, before tabbing their fourth run rule victory of the year against San Diego in a 9-1 rout.
The story line for the year has been consistent in its assessment that the Sun Devils would have to win games via small ball this year. That couldn’t be further from the truth on Sunday, a day where ASU hit five home runs over three games and added three doubles and a triple for good measure.
While the pitchers didn’t necessary have their “A” stuff on Sunday afternoon, a possibly byproduct of a nearly two-hour delay of the teams first game, they had their stuff when the cards were on the table. Despite scattering 18 hits on the afternoon and early evening, the trio of Dale Ryndak, Breanna Macha and Kelsey Kessler held their two opponents to just two runs and locked down despite having numerous runners in scoring position to handle
Over the course of the weekend, ASU’s pitching rotation has held its opposition to a paltry 3-of-35 clip with runners in scoring position (.086) while the Sun Devils have bat 27-of-67 (.403) with their own RISP.
Chelsea Gonzales was nigh unstoppable on Sunday, finishing the day batting 4-of-5 with two home runs, five RBI and two walks – failing to reach base just once on the day.
The Sun Devils return to the diamond tomorrow in the final game of the Kajikawa Classic as they take on No. 18 Kentucky at 3:00 p.m. MT at Farrington Stadium.
Full recaps of Sunday’s action can be found below.
#22 ASU 9, San Diego 1 (5)
The No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils keep winning in run-rule fashion. ASU defeated the University of San Diego Toreros, 9-1, in five innings in the second game of their doubleheader at Farrington Stadium.
Katee Aguirre finished 2-for-3 with a home run and a double, as Jenn Soria and Margaret Stahm also went deep for ASU.
The Sun Devils got things started with back-to-back homers in their bottom half of the first. Aguirre hit her first one of the season with a solo shot clearing both fences in left field and Stahm followed with a homer to the opposite field – the first home run of her career – to give ASU a 2-0 lead after one.
Soria started the bottom of the third with a solo homer to center field. Aguirre kept her bat hot, hitting a one-out double to left field after a Toreros pitching change and advanced to third on a Stahm ground out. Gonzales would walk and Nichole Chilson hit a single to right field, allowing Aguirre to score and extending ASU’s lead to 4-0 after three innings.
San Diego made things interesting in the top of the fifth after loading the bases on Breanna Macha. After two hits and a hit batter, Lauren Kane reached base on a fielder’s choice that scored Sierra Berryessa to cut the Sun Devils’ lead to 4-1 but Macha was able to get out of the jam with no further damage.
Stahm led things off for ASU in the bottom half of the fifth and reached base on a single to right field. Breona Peralta came in to pinch run and moved to second on a Gonzales single. Chilson then laid down a perfect bunt and loaded the bases for Girard, who hit one off the pitcher’s glove to score Peralta from third. Marissa Stankiewicz pinch ran for Girard as Brynley Steele cleared the bases with a triple to the gap in right center, bringing ASU’s lead to 8-1 with no outs.
Taylor Becerra and Soria both drew walks to load the bases once again for the Sun Devils and Sashel Palacios stepped up to the plate to pinch hit was promptly hit by the first pitch she saw to bring in Steele to end the game by way of the eight-run rule.
Macha earned her third win of the year after giving up just one run and striking out three Toreros.
#22 ASU 7, Portland State 1
The No. 22 Arizona State softball team defeated Portland State 7-1 in their first game of a doubleheader on Sunday at Farrington Stadium.
Chelsea Gonzales finally got her bat going as she went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and five RBI. She started and ended the game for the Sun Devils with a blast.
The first was a solo shot to left that cleared both fences at Farrington in the second inning, giving ASU a 1-0 lead. The second came on a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth that looked to travel further than the first.
With ASU holding a 1-0 advantage, the Vikings tied things up in the top of the third with a solo swing from right fielder Brianna Celaya. Portland kept things going with a couple hits, getting two on base, but Jenn Soria used her golden glove in the outfield made a running catch, crashing into the wall for the second out of the inning and keeping the Vikings at bay.
The Sun Devils would respond in their bottom half, with Allie Butterfield reaching base after being hit by a pitch and advancing to second on a wild pitch. Sashel Palacios also reached base by getting hit and would be lifted for pinch runner Marissa Stankiewicz.
Gonzales was up to bat and just missed sending one over the fence, but settled for a base-clearing double and a 3-1 Sun Devil advantage.
ASU would add a couple more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Raianna Dobbs reached base on a walk after a Nikki Girard fly out. Avi Davis came in to pinch run for Dobbs as Margaret Stahm stepped up to pinch hit for Skylar McCarty. Stahm bloop singled to right field, moving Davis to second, and McCarty would re-enter at first.
Taylor Becerra came up to bat and walked, loading the bases for Soria. Soria was hit by the pitch and Davis came in to extend the lead 4-1, and the Sun Devils would leave run stranded to end the inning.
ASU continued to add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth as Brynley Steele pinch hit for Palacios and smacked a single to left field. Gonzales was back at the plate and hit her second homer of the game bringing the Sun Devil lead to 7-1.
Dale Ryndak took the circle and earned her second win of the season. She allowed the lone run and struck out five Vikings, keeping the game largely under control despite scattering eight hits in the contest.