ASU softball records sixth straight win with dominating performance against North Dakota

After dropping their first game of the season, the Sun Devils are now on a hot streak

In the opening game of the Littlewood Classic at Farrington Stadium, the No.18 Sun Devils shutout the University of North Dakota 8-0 to extend their win streak to six games.

“It obviously sets the tone for this weekend,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “We needed to have better at bats earlier on, I think we strung some big hits together." 

Sophomore catcher Maddi Hackbarth went 2-3 with a home run and 3 RBI’s, while senior outfielder Nichole Chilson went 3-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Sun Devils' scoring started in the bottom of the first inning when Hackbarth's grounder to first allowed junior infielder Taylor Becerra to cross home plate from third – ASU took a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third inning, the Fighting Hawks had runners threatening on third and second base with two outs, but sophomore pitcher Alyssa Loza got ASU out of the jam.

Loza pitched three scoreless innings, only allowing one hit.

In the bottom of the third The Sun Devils piled on the hits. With Becerra on second, Hackbarth hit a two-run blast over the left center wall to extend the lead to 3-0.

At the top of the fourth inning senior pitcher Dale Ryndak entered the game. She finished out the game pitching two innings and allowing zero hits to earn the win.

“It felt really good to come out and dominate,” Ryndak said. ”It feels really good when my team behind me is offensively doing their job.”

Ryndak bounced back from her previous game against Saint Mary's, where she pitched two innings and gave up five hits and three runs. Ford discussed the senior pitcher's performance at the plate following Friday night's contest.

“I was really proud how Dale came in and closed the door right away," Ford said. "That was a great response from her Saint Mary's outing, so I think that is what a senior pitcher looks like."

The Sun Devils scored again in the bottom of the fourth inning when Chilson knocked an RBI double between right and center field for a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth freshman infielder Danielle Gibson smashed a two-run home run over center field brining the Sun Devils lead up to 6-0. 

“We had to make a few adjustments seeing the pitcher through the first round," Gibson said. "... I just knew that she was going to throw me that change up."

The game ended in the bottom of the fifth when Chilson knocked in two more runs from an RBI single, enacting the run rule and giving the Sun Devils the 8-0 win. 

The Sun Devils totaled 10 hits from seven different batters.

After dropping the first game of the season, the Sun Devils are red hot winning their last six games. This dominant win improves ASU's record to 6-1. 

“Were meshing well, but still finding our identity,” Ford said. “We've done a good job of finding things to work offensively.”

ASU will continue the Littlewood Classic with a double header on Saturday, Feb. 17 when they take on Illinois State at 4:45 p.m. MST and then Texas State at 7:15 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at or follow @nsheehy_nick on Twitter.

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