No. 16 ASU softball edges out 4-2 win against Coastal Carolina

The ASU softball team made some timely plays to upend Coastal Carolina on Friday night

The No. 16 ASU softball team returned home following its first road trip of the season to host Coastal Carolina on Friday night. With the help of three unearned runs and some timely plays, ASU knocked off the Chanticleers 4-2 at Farrington Stadium.

ASU took advantage of some Chanticleer miscues while limiting their own mistakes, and that ultimately led to the Sun Devils 4-2 triumph.

Coastal Carolina made three errors in Friday’s game, and their freshman starting pitcher Kaitlin Beasley-Polko suffered a loss despite recording nine strikeouts.

“We have got to come out and play our game, and I think we took things for granted tonight,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “That’s a good team over there (Coastal Carolina). They are scrappy and that pitcher has a good up-spin.”

Early in the game, it looked like the Sun Devils were going to roll. Leading off the bottom half of the first inning, ASU sophomore outfielder Kindra Hackbarth laced a double down the left field line, and sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez followed that up with a picture perfect bunt down the third base line to pick up an infield single.

Hackbarth came around to score on a wild pitch, and the Sun Devils looked like they were going to cruise.

However, Beasley-Polko continued to respond when the Sun Devils had runners in scoring position.

Throughout the game, the right-hander was plagued with runners on the base paths, but she limited the damage, coming up with timely strikeouts to keep Coastal Carolina in reach.

Despite the stellar performance against a potent ASU lineup, Ford felt there was more that could have been done in situational at-bats for the Sun Devils.

“We just have to focus. She (Beasley-Polko) had a lot of strikeouts,” Ford said. “Her rise ball was up and out of the zone ... we didn’t do a great job of making her bring it down. She was great. She didn’t have to adjust because we kept on swinging through it … in those situations, we have to have a good at-bat.”

Nonetheless, ASU was able to make due with timely plays and electric defense.

In the third inning, Hackbarth made a diving, full extension web gem down the right field line to record an out for her senior pitcher, Breanna Macha.

Macha ended up hurling a 10-strikeout performance in a complete game for the Sun Devils to pick up her sixth win of the season. The senior right-hander was able to mix in a variety of pitches, including a sequence in which the senior worked out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the fourth inning. 

“Coach always says ‘preparation is the key to success,’” Macha said. “I would just say the preparation that we bring into our bullpens this week and the past two days, I really worked on some stuff that I needed to, and that preparation helped.”

Among other notable Sun Devils, Gortarez finished with two hits, and junior outfielder Morgan Howe picked up an RBI double in the victory.

However, one of the biggest plays in the game wasn’t an RBI, rather it was a read by freshman infielder Bella Loomis.

Loomis got a start on Friday night at third base, and the freshman just about single-handedly recorded a run with her speed.

In a 3-2 game in the sixth inning, Loomis led off the frame with an infield single. Following the single, Loomis scrambled to second base on a ball in the dirt that didn’t get by Coastal Carolina sophomore catcher Kassidy Smith. 

Smith smothered the softball and threw down to second base, but by that time, Loomis already slid into the bag safely.

The freshman then moved up to third base on a wild pitch, and she touched home plate following a Coastal Carolina error to make the score 4-2. The run served as a much-needed insurance run for an ASU team that was looking to slam the door on the Chanticleers.

“I am just trying to get on base and help our team … I am just trying to help pick my teammates up,” Loomis said.

With a hard-fought win in a tight ballgame, ASU improved to 14-2 overall on Friday night. 

Up next, the Sun Devils will get right back to action tomorrow night, with a doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. MST at Farrington Stadium. ASU will play Coastal Carolina at 4:30, then take on New Mexico State at 7:00 p.m. MST.

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