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ASU Softball: Sun Devils avoid an upset with a walk off

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

Looking for the series win, the No. 21 Arizona State Sun Devils took on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday night and walked off in the seventh inning to win 4-3.

Sophomore right handed pitcher Breanna Macha took the mound for ASU.

In the second inning, sophomore right fielder Nichole Chilson made a spectacular sprawling catch in foul ground to end the inning and strand a runner on first.

Chilson then came up to the plate first in the bottom of the inning and deposited a ball beyond the fence in dead center to give the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.

“It (the catch) definitely gave me momentum,” Chilson said. “I was excited going up to the at-bat. I was just looking for a good pitch, and honestly my approach was to hit a line drive.”

The score was still 1-0 in the fifth inning when redshirt junior right handed pitcher Kelsey Kessler came in to pitch for Macha.

“I felt like we were getting slow on hitting,” co-interim head coach Letty Olivarez said. “So we wanted to bring in Kessler and shut them down.”

Kessler, coming off of her almost no-hitter the night before, got into a little bit of a jam in the fifth.

With runners on first and second and two outs, TTU freshman left fielder Kiani Ramsey smoked a ball up the middle of the infield which senior second baseman Nikki Girard could not handle. The runner from second came around to score at tie the game at 1-1.

The very next inning for the Red Raiders freshman third baseman Jessica Hartwell took Kessler deep for her second home run in two nights. That gave Tech a 2-1 lead.

It did not take long for the Sun Devils to answer back. In the bottom half of the inning junior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales blasted a home run into left field to tie the game.

In the top of the seventh Kessler gave up her third run of the game and ASU went into the bottom half looking to tie the game, or walk off.

Sophomore infielder Brynley Steele, who came in to pinch hit, quickly tied the game up when she sent the ball over the center field fence.

“My approach was to stay calm and get a pitcher that I could drive,” Steele said. “I was just trying to get on base. I knew they were going to give me a pitch to hit because they didn’t want to walk me.”

The Sun Devils then put runners on second and third and Gonzales hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring in the winning run.

“I just told myself to do something to bring my runner across,” Gonzales said.

The Sun Devils will close out the series against the Red Raiders Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Jacob Franklin via twitter @JFrankSports or via email at jacobfranklin093@gmail.com.

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