(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
ASU got the offense started early and junior pitcher Dale Ryndak pitched a two-hit shutout as the Sun Devils cruised to a 6-0 win to earn a sweep over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
“That’s a big win against a power five conference,” ASU softball head coach Trisha Ford said. “They worked really hard during spring break and to work on some things in the box I thought we executed really well.”
The sweep is the first of the season for the Sun Devils. ASU’s record now moves to 19-5 on the season.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales hit a 3-run home run to center field, putting the Devils up early 3-0.
“Our approach this week was to be aggressive, so I definitely worked with coach Roman [Foore] and coach Ford on just being aggressive on my at-bats and getting good pitches,” Gonzales said.
ASU found the scoreboard again in the next inning as Gonzales came through again, this time with a 2-run RBI single to left field, scoring Taylor Becerra and Brianna Wise.
“Gonzo right now is having a year,” Ford said. “If we can get them feeling good and confident in the box, there is no ceiling on what they can do.”
The Sun Devils added to their 5-0 lead in the bottom half of the third inning, as Becerra singled to left, plating Brynley Steele.
Both pitching and offense have been rolling for ASU on the home stand, as the Sun Devils have outscored opponents 37-2 in their previous four games.
On the mound, Ryndak held the Cornhusker offense at bay, working six innings and conceding only two hits. She also had two strikeouts in the outing.
“This year, more than anything, I think our entire pitching staff, including myself, we’ve gone out there with the mindset of just throwing an inning, not worrying about the score,” Ryndak said.
Breanna Macha pitched in the seventh inning and sealed the sweep for the Devils.
“Both of them are juniors and so they’ve gone through this a couple of times,” Ford said. “They have that confidence and they know what to expect. They know what they’re about to enter into.”
ASU is about to enter is Pac-12 Conference play. The Sun Devils play in their first Pac-12 series beginning Friday night against the No. 8 Washington Huskies in Seattle.
“I’m in a good place with [Ryndak and Macha],” Ford said. “I think that they’re going to come out and keep us in ballgames in Pac.”