(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
The No. 23 ASU softball team swept the Stanford Cardinal in a three-game series in northern California. The sweep is the first in Pac-12 Conference play. How did the Devils earn the sweep? Here’s the breakdown of how the series played out.
Thursday, April 13: ASU 10, Stanford 0 (five innings)
The Sun Devils got it started early on at Stanford with six runs on the board in the first innings. An RBI single, an RBI double, two bases-loaded walks, a hit batsman and an RBI infield single resulted in a 6-0 ASU lead after one inning. They picked right back up from where they left off in theta of the second, as senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales hit her ninth home run of the year, a two-run home run, to extend the lead to 8-0. The lead became even larger when Margaret Stahm also hit a two-run homer to left center field. Junior pitcher Breanna Macha pitched a three-hit shutout and the Devils took game one 10-0 in five innings.
Friday, April 14: ASU 9, Stanford 1 (five innings)
On Friday, ASU kept up the offensive pressure as they scored in every inning of the game. It started in the top of the first when Marisa Stankiewicz hit an RBI single. Next inning, junior outfielder Nichole Chilson hit a solo home run to center field. It was her third homer of the year and the lead is 2-0 after two. In the top of the third inning, Brynley Steele hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Stankiewicz and making the lead 3-0. In the fourth inning, ASU holding a 4-1 lead, when sophomore Fa Leilua a grand slam to left field. That would put the game out of reach as the score read 8-1 Sun Devils and they would eventually win it 9-1 in five innings.
Saturday, April 15 ASU 7, Stanford 4 (nine innings)
The series finale was a lot closer as this game needed extras to decide it. No scoring to be found until the top of the third inning when a bases-loaded walk and a two-run RBI double plated three runs and ASU led 3-0. In the fifth inning, Stanford’s Whitney Burks hit an RBI double to put the Cardinal on the board and cutting the Devils lead to 3-1. ASU added one more in the top of the seventh inning to take a 4-1 advantage, but Burks up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning connects on a three-run homer to tie the game 4-4. The game would go to extra innings, and in the top half of the ninth, Chelsea Gonzales hit a three-run homer to left center field. It was the 10th of her senior season and ASU would hold down the lead, win the game 7-4 and break out the brooms on the Cardinal in Stanford.
With the sweep, ASU moved to 26-12 on the regular season and its conference record improved to 5-7. The Sun Devils will return home to Tempe and face Pac-12 foe Utah in a three-game series beginning next Friday.