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ASU Sofball: Sun Devils fight back but can’t complete comeback attempt

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

In the final game of the series the No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devils were swept by the No. 12 Washington Huskies after they lost game three 12-9.

After a lengthy two hour and 17 minute rain delay, the two teams finally took the field. After the long layoff the first inning took all of seven minutes as both pitchers, junior Kelsey Kessler for the Sun Devils and freshman Taran Alvelo for the Huskies, made quick work in their halves of the inning.

As it did in the first two games of the series, Washington drew first blood as sophomore second baseman Taylor Van Zee roped a line drive two run home run over the center field wall.

The Sun Devils would get a run back in the bottom half. Junior Sashel Palacios stepped up and hit a solo home run to cut the deficit in half.

ASU kept the line moving. Chelsea Gonzales was hit by a pitch and then went first to third on a Margaret Stahm single. Gonzales then came into score on a wild pitch to tie the game.

ASU kept the momentum going and after Kessler tossed a scoreless top of the third, Palacios again stepped up and this time with one runner on, hit her second big fly of the day to give the Sun Devils the 4-2 lead and knock Alvelo out of the game.

Palacios had just two hits in the previous 12 games and said that it felt good to get over the slump.

“I’ve been trying to keep it really simple and it does get really frustrating,” Palacios said. “It feels really good, especially to go out like that and feel the confidence come back.”

For the third straight inning the Sun Devils loaded the bases. Unlike the first two times ASU was able to capitalize as Gonzales lined a base hit into center field scoring two and extending ASU’s lead to 6-2

The Huskies got those two runs right back as Van Zee got her second two run home run of the evening. They continued to get to Kessler and took the lead on a three run shot to left center off the bat of Julia DePonte.

Washington picked up an insurance run in the top of the sixth as Kelly Burdick hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Morganna Flores. The ensuing batter would knock in another run as Trysten Melhart grounded an RBI single into left making the score 9-6.

With time working against them the Sun Devils came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. They quickly got two runners on but found their backs against the wall with two outs with Gonzales stepping up to the plate. Gonzales came through and launched the game tying home run to left.

“We don’t give up,” Palacios said. “We’re (her and Gonzales) juniors and I feel like we’ve never had this before. Everybody is willing to do whatever it takes to win the game so it’s exciting.”

While co interim head coach Robert Wagner liked what he saw from his team, he still wants more consistency.

“There’s a lot of fight and you like that, but you want to see it all the time,” Wagner said. “They did show some character and keep battling back and they were there to win it.”

Ultimately it was decided to play game out despite the travel restrictions in place. Junior shortstop Ali Aguilar was hit by reliever Dale Ryndak and then Kimberlee Souza sent one over the left field fence to give Washington the 11-9 lead. The Huskies would put one more on the board and ASU faced a three run deficit down to its final three outs.

After the leadoff hitter Brynley Steele reached base, the Sun Devils went down in order to fall by a final score of 12-9.

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