Sports are a power struggle, a battle for dominance, but there are moments in games when the tides change and the battle is obviously over, and that moment came for ASU softball in the third inning against Idaho State Saturday night.
In their second game of the day, the Sun Devils (15-0) blew up the scoreboard with three home runs in one inning to add a quick five runs to their lead and change the momentum of the game. ASU went on to win 11-1.
The swing of the game looked like it began when senior center fielder Alix Johnson stepped up to the plate and cranked a solo shot to begin the third, but she said for her it started even earlier.
“I think it was the inning before when I made an error on the field,” Johnson said. “When I make a defensive error I want to come back in offensively.”
The home run by Johnson was the catalyst for an offensive demonstration that would have scared any team. Following her at-bat, two more were slapped out of the park in the same inning, among other noteworthy plate appearances.
“Hitting is contagious,” Johnson said. “Especially home runs like that and we have great hitters on our team so I’m glad I got us going.”
The real star of the offense, however, was sophomore left fielder Jennifer Soria, whose three-run shot came after Johnson’s in the third. She followed up with a second homer in the fifth to put the final nail in the Bengals’ (6-3) coffin.
“It was definitely unexpected, I’m not really like a Cheyenne Coyle,” Soria said. “I’m not big built so I was surprised. I just relax and trust my process.”
Soria and Johnson’s home runs were complimented with a solo home run from sophomore catcher Katee Aguirre and a three-run shot by junior third baseman Haley Steele in the fourth to push the score past the run-rule marker.
The Sun Devils came into the game against ISU after having a slow offensive showing in their first game of the doubleheader against Boston College (5-4), making the powerful plate appearances even more satisfying for coach Craig Nicholson.
“Obviously our offense can be explosive at times and when we get it rolling obviously that’s a momentum changer,” Nicholson said. “Obviously it changes our approach a little bit and changes their approach a little bit.
The Sun Devils had an 11-0 lead heading into the fifth inning against ISU, forcing the Bengals to either score enough runs to evade the run-rule, or lose the game. Valiantly, they scored one run in their last at-bats, but the game was over before they even took the plate.
The Sun Devils won both their games in the day’s events at the Diamond Devil Invitational and proved that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“We kind of want to put a thought in their head that we are the best,” Johnson said. “When you come and step out on this field you better play your best softball game.”
Reach the reporter at Nkwit@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @NolanKwit