ASU softball sweeps second day at the Mary Nutter Classic

The No. 13 Sun Devils improve to 10-4 on the season

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif – After losing twice on Thursday, the ASU softball team bounced back on Friday with a sweep, winning 6-5 against Nebraska and then 5-4 against Texas A&M to improve to 10-4 on the season.

Following Thursday's losses, in which the team failed to score a run against both No. 20 Oklahoma State and No. 23 Texas Tech, No. 13 ASU looked to find an offensive spark early in its first game on Friday against Nebraska. 

Although junior outfielder Kindra Hackbarth hit a lead-off single and senior outfielder Skylar McCarty followed that with an RBI-double in the first inning to give the Sun Devils an early 1-0 lead, ASU failed to provide any more offense throughout the next few innings.

Nebraska tied the game in the third inning, then ASU had a series of mistakes, including four hit batters from redshirt junior pitcher Cielo Meza and a dropped fly ball in centerfield from senior outfielder Morgan Howe with two outs in the fourth inning to give Nebraska a 3-1 lead.

Then Nebraska took a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning. After back-to-back walks and a hit-by-pitch from Nebraska though, Howe had a chance with the bases loaded to make up for that uncharacteristic dropped ball in the outfield.

Howe made the most of that opportunity as she cleared the bases with a grand slam, which tied the game.

ASU regained the lead in the sixth inning with an RBI-double from McCarty, who finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Then, freshman pitcher Mikayla Santa Cruz finished the win at the mound, not allowing Nebraska to score in the seventh inning.

In the nightcap, ASU started quickly on offense as junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth hit a lead-off home run in the second inning, which included an impressive bat flip. Later in the inning, sophomore infielder Bella Loomis notched a two-run home run to give ASU an early 3-0 lead against Texas A&M.

Texas A&M tied the game in the third inning after back-to-back bobbled groundballs from Loomis, but ASU drew four consecutive walks to start the fourth inning and added another run to regain its lead at 5-3.

Texas A&M, which finished with nine hits, provided pressure late as it cut the lead to 5-4, then nearly tied the game in the sixth inning as it had a runner coming into potentially score. However, after Howe corralled a ball in centerfield, she threw a laser to Hackbarth at home for the out.

ASU freshman pitcher Abby Andersen threw a strikeout to end the threat in the sixth inning and then sealed the win in the seventh, throwing a complete game.

Due to the weather, neither ASU coach Trisha Ford nor any Sun Devil players were available for media interviews. 

ASU will stay in California to take on Bethune-Cookman next on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at nahiatt@asu.edu or follow @NATE_HIATT on Twitter.

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