(Photo: Elaine Wilson/WCSN)
Make it 12 in a row. Arizona State’s funk continued in Los Angeles as No. 15 UCLA swept the Sun Devils.
The theme was late inning collapses by the ASU pitching staff, which allowed 23 total runs over the three-game series.
Last weekend ASU was swept by No. 7 Oregon. The Sun Devils were simply overmatched against the Ducks but had a good opportunity to bounce back against UCLA. However, the hot bats were too much for the slumping Sun Devils.
The Bruins were winners of eight of their last 10 games heading into the series and established that they are an elite team in the country.
The Sun Devils looked like they would erase their long losing streak but instead it extended to double digits.
UCLA got off to the hot start and scored three runs in the first inning. Sophomore Johanna Grauer’s pitching was fantastic until the sixth inning when ASU flipped the script. They brought home three runs including a Chelsea Gonzales two RBI long ball.
Through six innings ASU led 4-3 and then managed to add to their cushion in the top of the seventh and added two more runs.
Breanna Macha just needed three outs to close out the win but it proved to not be that simple. With two runners on Mysha Sataraka crushed a game ending three run home run and the final score was 8-6. The senior recorded five RBI on the night.
Following the heartbreaker the Sun Devils looked motivated to start the game. Using small ball they gathered five runs in the game.
Ace Kelsey Kessler started the game and didn’t allow allow a run until disaster struck in the seventh inning. Dale Ryndak entered the game in the fifth inning but was pulled after giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh.
Kessler reentered with a five run cushion. UCLA gathered a few more base hits and produced three runs. Now things were tight and there were still two runners on base. Gabrielle Maurice became the hero Saturday and launched a walk-off, three-run home run, and a final score of 6-5.
The Sun Devils already lost the series but they could still get the weight of the losing streak off of their shoulders in the series finale.
Things did not get off to a great start as Breanna Macha gave up a grand slam in the very first inning and was taken out after accounting for one out.
Ryndak was then brought in but didn’t bring her best stuff either. In the three and a third innings Ryndak pitched, three runs came across.
Apart from solo home runs from Sashel Palacios and Katee Aguirre, the Sun Devils did not have much in the tank either.
In the fifth inning, freshman Ciera Schick came in to pitch for the first time this season. She allowed two more runs, including a home run by fellow Rancho Cucamonga, California native Delaney Spaulding.
The final score was 9-4 and the series sweep was completed.
ASU will get a break from its tough schedule and face Stanford next week in Tempe. With only two series left, the Sun Devils will look to avoid ending the season at the bottom of the Pac-12.