ASU softball offense pushes team to victory in Oregon State series finale

The No. 17 Sun Devils complete a nine-run second inning, scoring eight with two outs

ASU softball coach Trisha Ford is happy her team is back.

After a 12-4 run-rule victory on Sunday in five innings against Oregon State, the Sun Devils walked out of Farrington Stadium as the victors of the weekend's three-game series with the Beavers.

The win follows a disappointing loss to Oregon State on Friday night and a bounce-back victory on Saturday showcasing an explosive Sun Devils offense.

No. 17 ASU (22-8, 2-1 Pac-12) finished with a walk-off RBI single from senior outfielder Skylar McCarty as the Sun Devils had another offensive explosion, including a nine-run second inning.

“We are passing the bat, right now,” McCarty said. “We are seeing good pitches, we are making good contact and we are believing in ourselves.”

With freshman pitcher Abby Andersen's at the mound, receiving another start in the circle, Oregon State (17-7, 1-2 Pac-12) jumpstarted its offense against her early, scoring two runs in the first inning to gain the lead.

That lead didn’t last as junior catcher Maddi Hackbarth hit her eleventh home run of the season, a solo shot to start the offensive flurry in the second inning. On the next at-bat, sophomore infielder DeNae Chatman followed with a triple down the right-field line. 

Chatman didn’t expect to go to third, but when she saw the instruction, she flipped a switch.

“I said to myself, ‘I better pull out the turbos.'" she said.

After freshman designated player Yannira Acuna and senior infielder Taylor Becerra reached base on a hit-by-pitch and a fielder’s choice, ASU went on a hitting streak.

Sophomore infielder Bella Loomis hit a two-RBI single, junior outfielder Kindra Hackbarth laced a double, McCarty lined an RBI-single and senior outfielder Morgan Howe hit a two-RBI double on a ball that bounced over the left-field wall. 

Sophomore infielder Kiara Kennedy followed with an RBI-double and Chatman finished the flurry with another hit, a two-RBI double.

ASU scored eight with two outs. Similarly, in the 13-run third inning on Saturday night, ASU scored 10 runs with two outs.

“We are capable of putting up crooked numbers a lot, frequently and at any point in time,” Ford said. “I am very confident that a lead is not safe against our offense.”

After OSU responded with two runs in the fourth inning, ASU answered with two runs, which started with another double from Kennedy, who finished 2-for-2 with two doubles. 

Andersen settled in on the mound Sunday afternoon in her first conference series, and she described it as a learning experience. 

With the chances Ford has given her, Andersen said she has started to believe in herself more and has become more comfortable.

“It definitely helped me free up a little bit,” Andersen said “… (A big lead) is definitely something that is going to keep me relaxed, and just having that lead, there is not much pressure in that situation.”

Midway through the third inning, junior pitcher Samantha Mejia replaced Andersen and finished the win. 


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

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