No. 13 ASU softball suffers first loss of season in doubleheader split

The Sun Devils lost to the Sooners after capturing a run-rule win against the Lobos

No. 13 ASU softball suffered its first loss of the season against No. 2 Oklahoma after a run-rule win against New Mexico on the first day of the ASU/GCU Tournament Friday in Tempe. 

Sophomore pitcher Lindsay Lopez started against New Mexico while freshman pitcher Allison Royalty earned the nod against Oklahoma.

New Mexico

The first and only run for the Lobos came unearned in the first inning. The Sun Devils dominated the game from then on, scoring five runs on four hits in the first inning alone.

Fifth-year senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth started the scoring onslaught with a three-run home run. Sophomore shortstop Alynah Torres immediately followed up Hackbarth's home run with one of her own. An RBI single from senior first baseman DeNae Chatman capped off the five-run inning.

"I thought our offense was great, especially in the first game," head coach Trisha Ford said.

ASU picked up two more home runs in the next two innings, one from fifth-year senior center fielder Kindra Hackbarth in the second and another from sophomore right fielder Jazmine Hill in the third.

ASU returned to its high-scoring nature in the bottom of the fourth inning by driving in six runs on three hits, three walks and two stolen bases. The Sun Devils secured the 13-1 run-rule win a half-inning later.

Lopez continued her strong play, allowing only one hit in 20 batters faced and finishing with five strikeouts.

"I think Lopez started off a little slow, just getting everything connected," Ford said. "I thought as the game went on, she got better and better. I thought she did a tremendous job working her off-speed (pitch), which is key for her."

Oklahoma

Facing the highest-scoring offense in the nation, Royalty controlled the Sooners for most of the game, only allowing two runs throughout the first six innings.

"Allison (Royalty) threw a great game today," junior left fielder Makenna Harper said. 

However, Royalty did not receive much run support, as ASU's bats were cold for most of the night until the seventh inning with just one run scored in the third.

Oklahoma redshirt senior pitcher Giselle Juarez limited ASU to just three runs, two of which came in the seventh inning.

Harper found the most success against Juarez, recording three hits in three at-bats, two RBIs and a home run.

"(The home run) felt great," Harper said. "That was a big confidence boost for the whole team. It's good to put the first shot on the board."

Oklahoma broke out in the top of the seventh inning with two home runs, giving the team a 5-1 lead. Fifth-year senior pitcher Cielo Meza relieved Royalty and stopped the bleeding with two strikeouts to end the inning.

The Sun Devils attempted to make a comeback by scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 5-3. Oklahoma redshirt senior pitcher Shannon Saile relieved Juarez after the latter gave up the two runs and finished the game by retiring the first three batters she faced.

Ford was proud of her team and Royalty's performance in the circle.

"That's one of the top offenses in the country and she's (Royalty) going to face that in the Pac (-12 Conference)," Ford said. "We're about player development, and we had two pitchers today that are like first-year pitchers who did tremendous today. We're just going to get better."

ASU will be back on Feb. 27 to face off against Portland State and Iowa State.


Reach the reporter at drodish@asu.edu and follow @david_rodish on Twitter.

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