ASU softball sweeps doubleheader to win eighth straight game

The Sun Devils win both games on second day of Littlewood Classic

Game One:

Coming off a dominating victory to open the Littlewood Classic, the Sun Devils continued their success with a 9-1 win in five innings over the Illinois State University Redbirds.

Starting the game for the Sun Devils was senior pitcher Breanna Macha, who pitched five innings of two-hit ball to earn the win. Macha received a huge helping hand from her offense, which piled up nine runs in just five innings against three different Redbird pitchers.

“The great thing about our lineup is that we can score a ton of runs at any time,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “I think you saw that in the first game where it was tight and then boom, we put up a lot of runs."

Freshman infielder Denae Chatman had four RBI, including a two-run home run out of the eight spot in the lineup.

Junior outfielder Morgan Howe and redshirt senior infielder Marisa Stankiewicz also pitched in offensively. Howe continued her hot start to the season by also picking up two hits and an RBI, while Stankiewicz scored three runs for the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils' offense picked up from where it left off on Friday, plating two runs thanks to an RBI double from Chatman in the bottom of the second.

However, the Redbirds were quick to reply in the third, as right freshman fielder Shannon Felde launched a solo shot to cut the ASU lead in half before Macha was able to retire the side.

The Sun Devils were then able to capitalize on scoring chances after hits from sophomore Kindra Hackbarth and Howe and a couple of defensive mistakes to take a 5-1 lead over the Redbirds in the fourth inning.

Chatman continued to rake, following up her two run RBI double with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Sun Devils a 7-1 lead.

But the Sun Devils weren’t done yet — sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez hit another two-run home run extend ASU’s lead to 9-1.

Since ASU had an eight-run lead in the fifth inning or later, the Sun Devils won the game via the eight-run rule.

Game Two:

In a pitching duel that went into extras, ASU was able to scratch out a win over the Texas State University Bobcats by a score of 4-3 in eight innings.

The winning pitcher for the Sun Devils was Macha, who after pitching five innings in the early game, pitched four innings of one run ball in the second. The senior said she tried to keep her mindset the same even as the game creeped into extra innings

“I don’t think the mentality really changes,” Macha said. “I think just as a pitcher I need to keep level-headed and throw pitches.”

The hero on the offensive side was freshman infielder Danielle Gibson, who after going 0-2 with a walk in her first three plate appearances of the second game, picked up the game-winning RBI single to send the Sun Devils home happy.

Gibson said she used knowledge from her previous at bats during the game to help prepare her for her game-winning hit.

“I knew she was throwing me outside, and I knew she wasn’t going to touch the inside of the plate,” Gibson said. “I kept my toes on the line and just drove it the other way.”

It was not a smooth start to game two for the Sun Devils as sophomore left-hander Giselle Juarez, who started the game for ASU, had some trouble finding the strike zone in the top of the first.

She loaded the bases with one out, but only allowed run on a sacrifice fly, which turned into a double play to limit the damage.

ASU was quick to respond, as Howe drove in two with a single into shallow center field to put the Sun Devils out in front 2-1. 

Juarez was able to rebound from her rough first and set down the Bobcats to preserve the Sun Devil lead heading into the bottom of the second. 

The teams then traded scoreless innings until sophomore infielder Hailey MacKay of Texas State hit a line drive home run over the center field wall to tie up the game at two in the fourth.

At the top of the fifth, Juarez let two runners on and Ford decided it was time for a change, bringing Macha into the game after she picked up the win in the team’s earlier game. The senior was able to work out of trouble and keep the game even at two.

Macha continued her brilliant pitching from the first game of the double header, keeping the Bobcats off the board through four innings pitched in relief as the Sun Devil bats continued to stay cold.

In fact, neither team was able to score in the usual seven innings, so the game went into extra innings, meaning a runner would start at second to begin each inning.

Texas State took full advantage of that rule in the eighth inning, scoring that runner from second to take a 3-2 lead and forcing the Sun Devils to score if they wanted to keep the game alive.

The Sun Devils took that challenge and scored on an E3 to tie the game at three, but they weren’t done there.

Gibson hit a looping line drive single into the left center to score the winning run and give the Sun Devils their eighth straight win.

Reach the reporter at and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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