Six-run second inning propels ASU softball to win over Utah

Fifth-year senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth hit two home runs in the victory

No. 13 ASU softball used a six-run second inning to propel the team to an 8-2 win against Utah in Tempe on Monday.

Fifth-year senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth hit two home runs in the game. Her first came in the bottom of the first inning, hitting a solo home run to right-center field for the first run of the game.

Fifth-year senior designated player Allison Tatnall began the second-inning scoring flurry with a leadoff home run. After two batters popped out, the Sun Devils strung together three hits and a walk, which led to them scoring five additional runs.

A single from redshirt junior second baseman Brittany Holland and a walk from senior third baseman Bella Loomis set up fifth-year senior center fielder Kindra Hackbarth, who drove in a run with an RBI single.

Sophomore right fielder Jazmine Hill then drove in two more runs with a double, and Maddi Hackbarth followed up by hitting a two-run home run to extend ASU’s lead to seven runs in the second inning.

"As of right now, I think that I am seeing the ball really well," Maddi Hackbarth said. "I go in there and I'm just trying to sit a good pitch and get barrel on it every single time, and I think that's what's paying off."

Utah sophomore pitcher Mary Beth Feldman finished the second inning but was replaced with sophomore pitcher Halle Morris to start the third. Morris finished the day allowing just one earned run in four innings pitched.

Morris also helped the Utes put their first run on the scoreboard with a solo home run to center field in the top of the third inning. 

Kindra Hackbarth added her second RBI single of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning to score ASU's eighth run.

In the sixth inning, Utah added another run with a single from sophomore second baseman Madi Jacobus to score sophomore right fielder Haley Denning.

Fifth-year senior pitcher Cielo Meza earned her fourth win of the season by pitching four innings, striking out three batters and allowing just one earned run. Sophomore pitcher Lindsay Lopez relieved Meza in the fifth inning, striking out four batters and allowing just one earned run over the final three innings.

"I'm really confident," Lopez said. "I've worked a lot on my mental side this year, so just seeing that pay off so far really helps and makes a difference in my game."

ASU has now played Utah twice this season, and head coach Trisha Ford said there are no "glaring" adjustments the team needs to make before its series in April. 

Despite the win, Ford said her team got "anxious" and was "chasing bad pitches" once the Sun Devils were one run away from ending the game by run-rule.

ASU will face Montana and Incarnate Word next in a doubleheader on March 5 in El Paso, Texas.


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

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