ASU softball defeats Utah twice, wins second consecutive Pac-12 series

Lindsay Lopez pitched two complete games in the series and allowed just one run in each start

ASU won its second straight Pac-12 series by defeating Utah on Thursday and Saturday in Salt Lake City. Sophomore pitcher Lindsay Lopez led ASU's defensive effort, allowing just one run in each of her two starts.

Thursday

In the first game of the series, the Sun Devils picked up their 11th run-rule of the season in a 9-1 victory.

Senior second baseman Halle Harger got ASU on the board first with an RBI double in the second inning. Later in the inning, fifth-year senior center fielder Kindra Hackbarth also hit a double to score two more runs to give the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead.

Harger hit another double in the third inning to score two more runs for ASU. She finished the game with two doubles and three RBI.

The Utes scored their only run of the game when junior right fielder Ellessa Bonstrom hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning.

The Sun Devils' offense exploded for four runs in the sixth and final inning. ASU's final runs of the game came from an RBI triple from Kindra Hackbarth and a three-run home run from fifth-year senior catcher Maddi Hackbarth.

Lopez struck out five batters and allowed just one run in six innings pitched.

Friday

The Utes rebounded in the second game of the series by defeating the Sun Devils 6-4. 

Freshman pitcher Allison Royalty pitched all six innings for ASU, but she allowed five earned runs and walked five batters in the loss.

Utah got on the scoreboard first with a two-RBI single from senior center fielder Alyssa Barrera in the bottom of the first inning.

Both offenses were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when junior right fielder Jordyn Gasper hit an RBI triple that scored sophomore pinch-runner AJ Militello.

Kindra Hackbarth broke ASU's scoreless spell with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning. The momentum quickly shifted back to Utah, however, as the team scored three runs in the bottom half of the frame.

The Sun Devils scored two runs in the sixth inning and another in the seventh, but their rally ended after the Utes turned a double play to end the game.

ASU failed to manufacture runs against sophomore pitcher Halle Morris for the majority of her time in the circle. Utah's defense helped Morris allow just three earned runs despite surrendering seven hits and striking out one batter.

Saturday

In her second start of the series, Lopez kept Utah's offense at bay to help ASU capture a 3-1 win. Lopez struck out four batters and allowed just one run on seven hits.

Stingy pitching from both teams kept the game scoreless through three innings.

Maddi Hackbarth broke the scoreless tie with a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning. Junior left fielder Makenna Harper hit a two-RBI single in the fifth inning to give the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead.

The Utes avoided a shutout with an RBI single from senior catcher Katie Faulk in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a flyout from the next batter ended the game.

ASU will return to Tempe to face GCU next on April 6 at 6 p.m. MST. 


Reach the reporters at drodish@asu.edu and cfahrend@asu.edu and follow @david_rodish and @chris_drop_ on Twitter. 

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