ASU softball wins both games in second day of Kajikawa Classic

Sun Devils rebound from opening loss to win two games on Friday

ASU vs. Purdue:

Coming off a tough loss to Tennessee the night before, ASU turned to senior Dale Ryndak to start the game as she helped the Sun Devils earn their first win of the season.

The senior started off her season strong with 5 2/3 innings of two hit, one run ball, earning her a 9-1 win in her first start of the season.

ASU ended its first game of the day a half-inning early as a sixth inning grand slam by sophomore catcher Maddi Hackbarth gave the Sun Devils a win via the run rule.

The Sun Devils started slow offensively, but found their groove in the bottom of the fifth when they strung together some hits to take a 5-1 lead over the Boilermakers.

ASU was lead offensively by Hackbarth who hit the walk off grand slam. In all, Hackbarth picked up two hits and five RBIs in the first game.

Freshman Danielle Gibson also contributed in her second game as a Sun Devil and picked up three RBIs on two hits, one of which was a home run.

"For us it's important to put up a lot of runs," head coach Trisha Ford said.

The two teams traded zeros for the first inning and a half until Gibson put the Sun Devils on the board in the bottom of the second with her first collegiate home run. 

Ryndak continued to mow down Purdue batters as she held the Boilermaker offense scoreless into the bottom of the third.

Purdue was finally able to break through with two outs in the fourth when sophomore Alex Binckes hit one over the left field fence to tie the game in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fifth, ASU continued with the theme of the game by launching another solo home run, this time it was junior outfielder Morgan Howe with the blast to put ASU back up 2-1.

After that it seemed that the ASU offense woke up, scoring three more in the fifth by stringing together hit after hit. By the end of the frame, ASU held a 5-1 lead with six outs left in the game.

In the top of the sixth Ryndak was pulled from the game and sophomore Alyssa Loza took over for the final out of the frame.

In the bottom half of that inning the Sun Devil offense poured it on adding four runs via the Hackbarth grand slam which ended the game.

ASU vs. Nebraska:

In the night cap, Gieselle Juarez led the Sun Devils to their second win of the day, this time by a score of 6-4.

Senior Breanna Macha started the game for ASU and was cruising, having given up only one hit through three innings. However, in the fourth inning she lost her touch and gave up four runs to Nebraska, making it a 5-4 game.

"I just think it is one thing that happened after another, you try to have a short memory," Macha said. "You try limit when it happens and not to let it pile up."

Then in came Juarez who, after allowing six runs on Thursday night in the season opener, showed off her short memory and pitched shut-out ball for three innings to lock down the Sun Devil's second win of the season.

Leading the offense for the Sun Devils was junior Morgan Howe who in her first plate appearance of the game launched her second home run of the day to give ASU a 1-0 lead. Howe also scored a run in the Sun Devil's four-run third inning.

"I think our team does a really good job of having energy all the time," Howe said.

To start the game the Sun Devils struck early, after a shut out top of the first from Machca, Howe homered for the second time in one day. 

This time it was in the bottom of the first off the camera stand in dead center to give ASU an early 1-0 lead over Nebraska.

Macha continued to pitch shut out ball and through three innings she had recorded three strike outs.

The senior's stellar performance on the mound allowed ASU to expand its lead to five runs in the bottom of the third giving them a cushion heading into the fourth.

Coming back out after a long inning, Macha seemed to lose her touch as she struggled to keep the ball away from the bat giving up four runs, highlighted by a three-run moonshot from junior Bri Cassidy.

After a scoreless bottom frame, the Sun Devils pulled Macha in favor of sophomore Giselle Juarez.

Behind Juarez's shutout pitching and an insurance RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, ASU was able to secure its second win of the day.

The Sun Devils will play again on Saturday as they take on Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. in Tempe.


Reach the reporter at Joshua.Zaklis@asu.edu and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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