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Ramelot, ASU softball walk off No. 10 Utah in 9-8 thriller

The Sun Devils scored five runs in the seventh inning to come back and defeat the Utes

The ASU softball team swarms ASU senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales (11) at home plate after Gonzales hit a home run during game one of a three game softball series versus the Oregon State Beavers at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, March 25, 2017. ASU won 8-0.
The ASU softball team swarms ASU senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales (11) at home plate after Gonzales hit a home run during game one of a three game softball series versus the Oregon State Beavers at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday, March 25, 2017. ASU won 8-0.

Fresh off of a road sweep of StanfordASU softball came back home for a key weekend series with No. 10 Utah looking to make a statement.

It took the Sun Devils until the final out of the game, but ultimately, that statement came off the bat of a freshman. 

Thanks to four runs in the seventh and a walk-off, two-run triple by freshman infielder Emma Ramelot, ASU took the first of three home games against No. 10 Utah Friday night, winning by a final tally of 9-8 at Farrington Stadium.

"Honestly, I was just going to do anything that would help my team," Ramelot said with the remnants of tears in her eyes. "If that was a base hit, or if that was me walking, I was going to do that, so first pitch I saw I just swung out of my shoes." 

Ramelot, who had started this season as a role-player and occasional pinch hitter, recently earned her way into a frequent starting position at the turn of conference play. 

After struggling her first three plate appearances, she came to bat with two on and two out and her team trailing by a run, and launched a line driving over the wall in center field. 

"Unbelievable, I've never felt anything like that," Ramelot said. "My knees were shaking, it was just a really proud moment for me and my team."

While the home run — due to a technicality involving the celebration — was ultimately ruled a triple, it signified the first top-25 win of the season for an ASU team that has struggled against the upper echelon of its conference.

"They can do whatever they put their minds to," head coach Trisha Ford said. "As cliche as that sounds, you just saw tonight what that looks like. Emma, a freshman, not a bigger situation than that ... that's what you live for. For them to finally grit out one of those games ... that was finally our first time for us to come through and see what that feels like."

Both teams got going offensively in the third inning, as Utah (28-9, 10-4 Pac-12) plated four in the top half on a double by senior second baseman Hannah Flippen and a home run by senior shortstop Anissa Urtez. 

In the bottom of that same inning, however, the Sun Devils (27-12, 6-7 Pac-12) put together a two-out rally of their own, taking advantage of a couple of errors to bring in their first run on a single by senior catcher Sashel Palacios. Senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales added another run, cutting the Utah lead to 4-2, with another RBI single. 

At that point, junior pitcher Dale Ryndak (7-3, 1.65 ERA) came in to relieve Macha after having minimal warmup time in the bullpen with junior catcher Bailey Oetting.

In relief, Ryndak struck out one and allowed four hits and one earned run in four innings of work. 

"One of our catchers warmed me up in the bullpen," Ryndak said. "She settled me down real quick, I only had 15-ish pitches to throw. I got out there and she's like, 'You're so good, you go do your own job, it'll take care of itself.' She did a great job of just talking to me and cooling me down."

The Utes got their bats going once again in the top of the sixth to add some insurance by way of a fielder's choice and a single. Ryndak walked her two batters to bring in another run, but found her way out of the inning after allowing three runs.

Just as they had in the third, the Sun Devils responded In the bottom of the sixth. This time, it was a three-run pinch-hit bomb from another freshman, outfielder Brianna Wise, cutting the Utah lead to two.

Utah's final run before ASU's last-inning heroics came by way of a two-out solo shot in the top of the seventh off the bat of freshman catcher Kelly Martinez. 

The Sun Devils will be back in action against Utah once again Saturday at Farrington Stadium in Tempe. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.


Reach the reporter at jeff.griffith21@asu.edu or follow @Jeff_Griffith21 on Twitter.

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