No. 14 ASU softball defeated No. 6 UW in first game of weekend series

ASU snapped its five-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over No. 6 Washington

No. 14 ASU softball stunned No. 6 Washington with a walk-off rundown in the seventh inning to win the first of the four-game weekend series.

The game started off well for ASU with two quick outs made by junior left fielder Makenna Harper and fifth-year senior center fielder Kindra Hackbarth. Then, the inning quickly deteriorated after three straight singles and an error gave Washington the first run of the game in the top of the first.

In the second inning, senior designated hitter Noelle Hee homered which prompted head coach Trisha Ford to substitute freshman pitcher Allison Royalty for fifth-year senior pitcher Cielo Meza.

In the bottom of the second, Harper continued to play her best against the best competition, knocking the first hit to shallow left field to put a runner on base for the first time for the Sun Devils. It was the lone hit of the inning.

Washington's senior pitcher Gabbie Plain maintained effectiveness over the Sun Devils through the first half of the game. She held the Sun Devils to two hits through three innings.

"It's always good facing elite pitching," Kindra Hackbarth said. "You get to know what you have and what you're going to face in the future, especially at the (Women's College) World Series or any regionals."

The Huskies returned to scoring in the fourth. After loading the bases with no outs, Royalty had to claw her way out of the hole and started to with two straight strikeouts. Graduate student shortstop Sis Bates hit a two-RBI single to bring Washington to a four-run lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, ASU's offense came to life. Maddi Hackbarth walked and was replaced by junior outfielder Olivia Miller. Miller stole second and Torres followed up with a single to bring Miller to third. 

Later in the fourth, fifth-year senior Alli Tatnall grounded out to second, but not before Miller was able to run home for the first ASU run. Harper continued to show up on offense with her second hit of the night that brought home freshman infielder Savannah Price, who pinch-ran for Torres. 

After stopping the Huskies from adding to their lead in the top of the fifth, ASU picked right back up on offense with two more runs to tie the game at 4-4. Sophomore right fielder Jazmine Hill hit a two-RBI double that brought senior third baseman Bella Loomis and Kindra Hackbarth home.

Washington once again went scoreless in the sixth inning. For the final out, sophomore pitcher Lindsay Lopez relieved Royalty. To start the bottom of the sixth, freshman pitcher Sarah Willis relieved Plain.

In the seventh inning, Lopez held the Huskies to one hit and no runs, which gave ASU one final chance to win the game in regulation. The hit was the only one allowed by Lopez and she combined with Royalty for four scoreless innings against the Huskies.

"(The pitchers) did what we needed to win the ballgame," Ford said. "At the end of the day we got a 'W,' (it) doesn't really matter how it looks."

With one out in the seventh, Kindra Hackbarth crushed a double to center field and advanced to third on an error that put ASU right in the window of opportunity to take the game. Kindra Hackbarth went 3-4 from the batter's box on the night.

Kindra Hackbarth was feeling confident after "putting the past in the past" and "moving forward." Her performance in the game contrasted with the performance of the previous week against UCLA greatly.

Willis walked Hill immediately after Kindra Hackbarth's double. Maddi Hackbarth squared around to bunt at the plate, and Kindra Hackbarth ran home. Maddi Hackbarth missed the pitch, starting a pickle with Kindra Hackbarth caught between third and home.

"Once I saw Kindra (Hackbarth) in the rundown, my biggest thing was (to) make sure I cover her spot and take a plate," Hill said. "Once I saw she was staying, I just ran as fast as I could."

Kindra Hackbarth ran and was forced back to third, during which, Hill ran from first to third to add to the confusion for Washington. In an attempt to run back to second, Hill was tagged out, giving Kindra Hackbarth the opportunity to reach home for the game-winning run.

"I wish I could say (the final play) was (planned)," Ford said. "Kindra is a tremendous baserunner, there's no panic in her in a rundown. I always say baserunning will win you games and it will lose you games, and tonight it won us a game."

ASU will continue its weekend series against the Huskies on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at and follow @david_rodish on Twitter.

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