ASU softball sweeps doubleheader in comeback fashion at Littlewood Classic

ASU softball offense leads team to sweep Detroit Mercy, Kentucky

No. 23 ASU softball swept games versus Detroit Mercy and No. 10 Kentucky in day two of the Littlewood classic.

Detroit Mercy

No. 23 ASU softball (8-2) run-ruled Detroit Mercy (0-6) 15-1 behind a balanced offensive showing and a gem from senior pitcher Samantha Mejia.

Mejia stepped into the circle in the fifth inning just three outs away from recording ASU’s second no-hitter this season. Sophomore Titan third basemen Taryn Peru had other plans. 

Peru nestled into the batter’s box and roped a home run to dead center, breaking Mieja’s no-hitter and putting the Titans on the board.

Mejia finished the game with ten strikeouts and the win.

Peru's home run was the only Titan bright spot, as the Sun Devils had the lead from the get-go.

Freshman right fielder Jazmine Hill got the Sun Devils on the board in the first inning after she singled to center field, advanced to third on an error and pop out, then scored on a wild pitch.  

In the second inning, ASU continued to pound away as senior center fielder Kindra Hackbarth crushed a two-run home run to left field, her second of the season. 

The third inning had the Sun Devils explode for eight runs. 

Head coach Trisha Ford said this year’s team does not have a weak spot in its lineup.

“This team is in a really good spot from top to bottom,” Ford said. “They really enjoy playing with each other. They fight for each other. We’ve got a really good mesh on all cylinders.”

Despite scoring eight runs in the third inning, ASU did not let up. The Sun Devils tallied four more runs in the fourth inning as Harper, freshman catcher Macy Simmons and junior designated player Denae Chatman all knocked in runs. 

Kentucky

Game two of the Sun Devil’s doubleheader quickly developed into a duel between senior Sun Devil pitcher Cielo Meza and junior Wildcat pitcher Grace Baalman

Throughout the first three innings, neither pitcher allowed a run and combined for one hit allowed.

Meza said when an opposing team’s pitcher is also doing well, it drives her to pitch her best.

“It definitely motivates me just to be better than the next person, be better than the next team,” Meza said. “I know this team is capable of doing big things so I’m here working on the mound working as a workhorse for this team.”

In the fourth inning, things got interesting. Senior left fielder Bailey Vick reached base with a bunt and soon advanced to third base on a throwing error.

Senior second baseman Alex Martens got No. 10 Kentucky (6-2) on the board with a sacrifice fly that brought home Vick.  

In the fifth inning, junior pitcher Madison Preston replaced Meza. She pitched four innings, struck out six and did not allow an earned run.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Sun Devils mounted a comeback. 

Hill reached base on an error. Then, on a single up the middle from senior designated player Allison Tatnall, Hill attempted to round third and tie the game after a bad throw from sophomore center fielder Tatum Spangler got past freshman third baseman Emmy Blane. Hill was thrown out at home. 

With two outs and the game on the line, Kennedy launched a shot into right field where Smith dropped the ball, allowing sophomore pinch runner Olivia Miller to score from second base.

In extra innings, Smith came to the plate with runners on first and third. Smith singled down the right field line which scored both Wildcat runners due to a bad throw from Hill. 

Because of the error, Smith was able to advance to third, then score Kentucky’s fourth run of the game on a wild pitch.

With two runners on base and two outs in the Sun Devil half of the eighth, Torres launched a three-run, game-tying home run to center field. 

“She’s special. She’s a freshman and not playing like a freshman,” Ford said. “When you talk to her, she’ll tell you ‘I was born to do this.’ She’s been that kid her whole life.”

In the ninth inning, Meza came back in for Preston and retired three straight batters.

In the top of the tenth inning, a Smith sacrifice fly put the Wildcats ahead and, once again, the pressure turned back onto the ASU offense. 

The Sun Devils answered. This time it was senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth, who tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

With a runner on third base in the bottom of the 11th, all Tatnall was looking to do was put a ball in the air. She did much more. The designated player got ahold of the ball and hit a monster two-run walk-off shot to win the game 7-5.

Ford believes that tonight’s comeback proved to her that her team is capable of anything. 

“I think tonight solidifies ASU softball. We’re never out of a game and we’ve talked about that before,” Ford said. “So many people contributed to this win.”

The Sun Devils look to continue their winning streak Sunday against Boise State at 3:00 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at cfahrend@asu.edu and follow @chris_drop_ on Twitter.

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