ASU softball drops first game of the season to Tennesse

Despite outhitting the Vols, the Sun Devils open season with a loss at home

On the first day of the Bob Kajikawa Classic, the ASU softball team took on the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers in the last game of the day as the Sun Devils fell short by a final score of 7-4.

Both teams struck early putting up three runs a piece in the second inning, the difference came in the fourth when the Volunteers put up two runs to take a 5-3 lead at the time.

From there Tennessee tacked on another run in the fifth and one more in the seventh, coasting their way to a win despite getting outhit by ASU six to 11. 

Taking the loss on the night for the No. 23 Sun Devils was lefty sophomore Giselle “G” Juarez who allowed six runs in five innings of work. Senior Breanna Macha came in for the final two innings and allowed one run.

“They got lucky in certain aspects and we got lucky in certain aspects,” Juarez said. “We fought really hard tonight.”

Macha agreed with her teammate adding that it seemed the offense was a little offbeat tonight but said it was only a matter of time before the team found their rhythm.

“I think just stringing some hits together,” Macha said. “(Eleven) hits per game is a pretty decent amount, so it is about timely hitting.”

The Sun Devils got most of their offense from sophomore catcher Maddi Hackbarth, who drove in three of the team’s four runs on a home run in the bottom of the second. Hackbarth later collected another hit, making her 2/4 on the day.

ASU also got a two-hit performance from redshirt senior Marisa Stankiewicz. The second baseman was 2/3 with a run scored and a walk on the night.

Head coach Trisha Ford was satisfied with the team’s performance on the night and said she felt the team was a hit or two away from flipping the result.

“I thought we had a lot of grit tonight,” Ford said. “I thought (Juarez) threw a heck of a game. She had two bad pitches and they took advantage of it.”

Pitchers for both teams started the game strong with Juarez striking out the first four Tennessee batters who came to the plate.

The Volunteers' first base runner came on a walk with one out in the second when freshman Ashley Morgan drew a walk.

Tennessee took full advantage of this opportunity as senior Scarlet McSwain launched a three-run home run after a hit by pitch to give the Volunteers a 3-0 lead.

But the Sun Devils were not going to roll over, following a lead off single, Hackbarth hit a moonshot over the center field wall to make the score 3-2.

ASU was able to tie the game up thanks to a one run double by sophomore Jade Gortarez. The Sun Devils couldn’t do any more damage as the two teams entered the third tied at three. 

However, Tennessee was quick to strike back with a two-run long ball in the top of the third retaking the lead, this time by a score of 5-3.

The teams then traded scoreless half innings until the top of the fifth where the Volunteers struck once expanding their lead to three runs.

In the bottom half of the inning the Sun Devils struck back with one run, but Tennessee was able to stop the bleeding there as the Sun Devils went into the sixth trailing 6-4.

From there, the Volunteers notched one more run while Macha replaced Juarez in the circle in the top of the sixth.

ASU will be back in action in day two of the Bob Kajikawa Classic on Friday, playing a double header against Purdue and Nebraska.

 Reach the reporter at and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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