(Photo: Sun Devil Athletics)
What seemed like a pitching duel turned into a hit parade in the later innings, as Arizona State was able to over power the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson with an 8-5 victory.
The pitching matchup was a power vs. power as Michelle Floyd, a 6 foot 3 inch sophomore, took the circle for Arizona against the freshman Breanna Macha for ASU.
The Wildcats got off to the exact start they wanted when they brought in a run in the bottom of the first. Their leadoff batter Hallie Wilson started the inning off with a walk, then Macha was able to get the next two outs until Katiyana Mauga took the plate. She was last week’s Pac-12 player of the week and continued her hot hitting when she ripped a ball to the wall in left center field for a double, scoring Wilson from second.
The game then held still for three innings as both pitchers settled in and were dominant. There were no troubles for either pitcher until the fifth inning.
In the top of the inning the Sun Devils rallied two walks but also had two fielders choices so Elizabeth Caporuscio would get a chance to make something happen with two outs. The senior did just that and rocketed a pitch down the right field line for a three-run home run. It was the Sun Devils first hit of the game and it couldn’t have been bigger as ASU took the 3-1 lead.
That lead would not last for long as in the bottom portion of the inning the senior, Wilson started another spark with a double. Two batters later, the number three hitter in the Wildcats lineup Kellie Fox smacked a two run homerun to tie the game.
After a shutdown bottom of the sixth inning for Floyd, the Cats were able to put a stick up in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a homerun by Lauren Young. Arizona strung together two more hits so head coach Craig Nicholson decided to pull Macha and bring in his other freshman pitcher.
Dale Ryndak entered the game and was able to get Wilson to fly out to avoid the jam. ASU’s offense would get one more chance to make something happen down one.
Floyd remained in the game to finish off the complete game, but it wouldn’t be that simple. The first three batters reached base, which brought Chelsea Gonzales to the plate. The sophomore got all of a fastball and cranked it down the left field line for a grand slam, her eighth home run of the season. ASU took the 7-4 lead and Floyd was sent packing.
Trish Parks was brought into the game with no outs, and had some trouble as well but was able to escape with just one run off of a single up the middle by Sashel Palacios, 8-4 ASU. The Devils picked up five runs on five hits in the inning.
With a four run lead Ryndak would just have to hold off the powerful Wildcat offense and she was able to do that surrendering just one run on a Mo Mercado single. ASU picks up the victory and game one of the three game series.
The Sun Devils got the start to the Territorial Cup they wanted and will have momentum heading into game two tomorrow. The action continues Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.