Coming off a disappointing performance by its own standards, Arizona State softball bounced back in the opening game of the Littlewood Classic against the North Texas Mean Green, 10-2.
In the first game of another doubleheader for ASU, Dale Ryndak delivered a great performance and was boosted by a nine-run outburst from her offense in the third inning, and a mercy rule game to boot
The game seemed destined to be a pitcher’s duel for the first two innings between Ryndak and Madison Thompson of UNT, but all that changed in the third.
After an error by ASU third baseman Haley Steele, UNT pushed across their only two runs of the game off RBI from Kelli Schkade and Taylor Schoblocher. Ryndak bent but didn’t break, and from there the game belonged to ASU.
Making North Texas pay for two costly errors in the pivotal third inning, the Sun Devils sent 13 women to the plate with the biggest blow coming off of a 3-run double by Haley Steele to turn a 2-0 deficit for the Sun Devils into a 3-2 lead.
The scoring snowballed from there for ASU as Amber Freeman, Chelsea Gonzales, Elizabeth Caporuscio and Sierra Rodriguez drove in the other seven runs.
Thompson lasted only 2 and 1/3 innings for the Mean Green, surrendering four hits, seven runs and three walks. Kenzie Grimes finished the final two innings, giving up two hits, three runs and one walk.
Both teams went quietly in the fourth, and after Ryndak had retired all six UNT batters in the fourth and the fifth, Elizabeth Caporuscio ended North Texas’ night with a walk-off solo homerun to right field to put the five-inning mercy rule into effect.
The Sun Devils were in desperate need of a dominant win for their critics and their team psyche coming off a 4-3 weekend in the Kajikawa Classic, highlighted by a Sunday sweep at the hands of Texas and Cal State Northridge.
The freshman pitcher threw the way her teammates know she can and the way she expects herself to, delivering a five-inning complete game performance due to the eight-run mercy rule. She battled through the shaky third inning and otherwise dominated the UNT lineup.
Ryndak finished with five innings pitched, two hits and five strikeouts, while walking just one and giving up two unearned runs.
ASU picked up its second mercy rule victory of the season, after they defeated Indiana last Saturday night in six innings, also by the score of 10-2.
ASU head coach Craig Nicholson and his team will look for a doubleheader sweep to open up the Littlewood Classic as they face the Illinois State Redbirds (3-3) from Farrington Stadium.