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ASU Softball: Sun Devils continue dominance in the Kajikawa Classic

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

The Sun Devils made the best of the third day of the Kajikawa Classic as they stretched their win streak to six games.

Arizona State is pleased with its results as two of its pitchers, Dale Ryndak and Breanna Macha, each had complete games and combined for a total of nine strikeouts.

“We’re getting on a good role- just one game at a time. We took care of the business we were supposed to take care of today and tomorrow we’re going to come out and beat Riverside,” Head Coach Trisha Ford said.

GAME 1- Arizona State University vs. Indiana University

The Sun Devils began the day with an uneventful first inning as neither team put a mark on the scoreboard.

The offensive silence was not to last. Arizona State starter Dale Ryndak struggled early in the second inning, allowing back-to-back singles to CaraMia Tsirigos and Taylor Unden.

An error by ASU’s first baseman Margaret Stahm kept both of the runners on while a sacrifice bunt by Sarah Thompson put the runners on second and third.

IU was able to score off of a high ball by Rachel O’Malley that gave Tsirigos’s pinch runner enough time to score.

“They came out and they struck first, and we responded,” Ford said. “Then, we put up a crooked number after that as well, which is always good.”

Arizona State marched on in its military style uniforms as Marissa Stankiewicz started the bottom of the second with a hit that dropped in the infield.

Teammate Nichole Chilson was later awarded a walk, and then a double by freshman Miranda Farricker sent Stankiewicz home for ASU’s first run of the game.

“We were able to give our freshman starts and that’ll help us down the road,” Ford said.

The Sun Devils carried their momentum into the third as Indiana was shutout in the top of the inning and their Ace pitcher, Tara Trainer, started the bottom of the inning by surrendering two walks.

ASU’s shortstop Chelsea Gonzales took advantage of this scoring opportunity with a homerun that went over the fence in left centerfield. Gonzales’s first home run of the season brought in both Palacios and Stahm.

“She’s been here done that; she’s been to this dance. I’m just really happy for our players and they’re feeling good,” Ford said. “That’s what you want, you want to keep building the foundation blocks to get ready for conference.”

The score did not waver from the 4-1 lead Arizona State established in the third until the top of the seventh inning.

Ryndak, who pitched the entire game, gave up her second run after the Hoosiers repeated what they did in the second inning and Tsirigos scored off of a hit by O’Malley.

However, Indiana’s surge of offense was immediately cut off as Ryndak solidified the score at 4-2 with her fifth strikeout of the game which sealed the deal.

GAME 2- Arizona State University vs. University of Texas-Arlington

The start of Arizona State’s second game was much more intense than its first as Arlington loaded the bases off ASU pitcher Breanna Macha in the top of the first.

“I felt like UT-Arlington is a really good team,” Gonzales said. “The first inning we were all like ‘we need to wake up’.”

However, Macha managed to squeeze herself out of that jam with a clutch strikeout. Then with the help of first baseman Margaret Stahm, she turned a double play.

“I owe this game definitely to the defense,” Macha said. “They backed me up the whole game and having the team behind my back in the very beginning, that sets a tone for the whole season.”

After that, the Sun Devils enforced their offense with a double by Chelsea Gonzales that enabled Sashel Palacios to get a well-deserved run.

“Our pitching did amazing. I think Dale and Bree both threw amazing games; it was cool to be behind them. Defense did a really good job too and hitting too,” Gonzales said.

Then, with Gonzales on second base and two outs to fuel the pressure, Marissa Stankiewicz hit a single and was followed by Ulfua Leilua who forced a double in the gap between center and right field.

Gonzales and Stankiewicz scored to bring ASU up to a 3-0 lead to carry them into the second.

“Our coaches are doing a really good job. They prepared us for this weekend and this whole season,” Gonzales said. “The main goal is just to have fun.”

The Sun Devils defense kept the Mavericks scoreless, and into the bottom of the inning, ASU’s Brianna Wise got a single in her first appearance of the day.

Taylor Becerra followed Wise with a well-executed running bunt and with another hit from Skylar McCarty, ASU was set with its bases fully occupied.

Usual suspects Palacios and Gonzales sent two more runners home with their hits and made the score 5-0.

“It’s awesome to see out teammates hit hard line-drives at the wall and doubles. It’s just a lot of fun to watch,” Gonzales said.

The Devils successfully relied on defense throughout the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings as the score remained constant.

“It was nice to see them put a team away.” Ford said

There was a close call in the sixth inning for ASU as Arlington had their member of the USA top 50 watchlist, Sandra Mendoza, in scoring position on third, but was tagged by catcher Palacios as Mendoza went for home safe-guarded the score.

“Skylar’s throw home to Sasha, if you look at the replay, I am pumped for them,” Macha said. “It makes a statement when your team has your back.”

To end the game in the sixth, the Sun Devils had three more runs to make the final score 8-0.

“We’re taking it one game at a time and so, those games are over with and we’re just thinking about tomorrow.” Gonzales said.

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