No. 7 ASU softball drops game two to No. 3 Oregon

Oregon belted six home runs on Saturday night at Farrington Stadium

For the second day in a row, the No. 7 ASU softball team fell to No. 3 Oregon at Farrington Stadium. The Sun Devils fell 9-1 on Saturday night, and similar to Friday’s contest, Oregon used a power outage to pick up a road victory.

Over the course of the first two games in Tempe, Oregon has blasted eight home runs and the Ducks have proven to be a difficult team to keep in the ballpark with a plethora of powerful bats in their lineup.

“We are not figuring things out quick enough,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “We have to keep the ball in the park. For us, they are hitting our mistakes and we aren’t hitting their mistakes, so they are a really good team and I also think that we are a really good team. We just have to play better.”

In the circle, ASU used the senior combo of Breanna Macha and Dale Ryndak. Macha put up a scoreless opening frame, but the senior right-hander was then touched up by the Oregon bats when Oregon senior catcher Gwen Svekis blasted a solo home run in the second inning.

Then with two outs, Oregon senior second baseman Lauren Lindvall came up to the plate with a runner on, and blasted another long ball to make the score 3-0 in the second inning.

Macha was pulled in the fourth inning after allowing six earned runs, and the tough outing was one of the few blemishes on what has otherwise been a solid senior campaign for the Arizona native.

“They are a top-three team for a reason,” Macha said. “They hit balls. They hit strikes, they hit balls in the other batter’s box and they are a good hitting team. Sometimes, you have to tip your hat off to them.”

Ultimately, Oregon’s offensive brigade was too much too handle, with a Ducks pitching staff that is one of the best in the country.

Oregon had six home runs from four different players, and Svekis had two long balls. Among others, senior shortstop DJ Sanders, freshman designated player Mary Iakopo, and junior infielder April Utecht all homered for Oregon.

As for the defense, Oregon sophomore pitcher Miranda Elish matched Friday night’s starter Megan Kleist by hurling 7 innings and striking out 12 in another Oregon masterpiece in the circle.

The Ducks have a team ERA of exactly one run a game, and the Sun Devils have gotten a taste of one of the most well-rounded teams in the country over the last couple of days. 

As for a couple of the bright spots for ASU, junior third baseman Taylor Becerra and freshman infielder Denae Chatman were both thrown into the starting lineup on Saturday after not receiving a start on Friday, and both players came up with hits for the Sun Devils.

Chatman picked up the only run of the game for ASU with a solo home run in the fifth inning, but that would be all the offense in store.

“I was really excited. We have been working really hard this week on having a plan with our at-bats and sticking to it,” Chatman said of the home run and the start. “It was nice to see it pay off.”

While Chatman’s home run was a positive for the Sun Devils, the rest of the ASU offense was stymied by Elish, and the Ducks were able to take the series during their first two nights in Tempe.

Saturday’s loss marked the first time all season that ASU has lost two consecutive games, and although it might be a tough pill to swallow, the series with Oregon is just all part of the ups and downs of a grueling Pac-12 slate – games with high-caliber competition like Oregon is something that ASU can expect to see if they are looking to make a deep postseason run.

Up next, the Sun Devils will look to salvage a game tomorrow afternoon at Farrington Stadium on Sunday, April 15 at 12 p.m. MST.

“Coach talked about it, it’s just a gut-check day tomorrow,” Becerra said. “We can either come in and let them beat us at home or we can go kicking, scratching and fighting, and do whatever we can to get a win.”

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