(Photo: Josh Frons)
The first game of the season came with obvious jitters from freshman starter Dale Ryndak, both at the beginning and end of the game. Ryndak pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and eight hits as the Sun Devils defeated the Creighton Blue Jays 7-4 in their opening game of the 2015 season.
Ryndak battled with control issues during a 37-pitch first inning, but was able to strand two Blue Jay runners without allowing a run. The nerves soon subsided though, as senior Amber Freeman got the Sun Devils on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI double to left field.
The score remained 1-0 until Creighton’s Liz Dike blasted a triple off the right-center field wall in the third inning, scoring Kelsey Allender to knot the score at one. ASU answered right back however, as sophomore catcher Sashel Palacios singled in Haley Steele to make the score 2-1. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Haley Steele smacked a 3-run home run over the left field fence to put ASU up 5-1. The Sun Devils appeared to put the game away in the sixth with two more runs to make it 7-2, but Creighton put up quite a fight in the seventh.
Junior left fielder Michelle Trulin reached on an infield single, after which Allender hit a moonshot home run to center field to pull Creighton within three at 7-4. Ryndak let two more base runners on before being pulled by head coach Craig Nicholson. Ryndak’s freshman counterpart Breanna Macha came on and proceeded to get senior catcher Bri McMahon to ground into a force out at second base to put a bow on ASU’s first win of 2015.
Ryndak showed the composure that made her a Gatorade Player of the Year at Downers Grove North High School (IL). However, the 37-pitch first inning appeared to take its toll on her come the seventh inning as she began to lose velocity on her pitches and gave up three hard-hit balls before being pulled.
In addition to the hype surrounding Ryndak and Macha leading the pitching staff, the Sun Devils have a promising season in front of them. From the offensive side, senior catcher Amber Freeman went 3-for-3 with an RBI double, and Haley Steele showed off her tremendous power after hitting her 38th career home run and finished with four of ASU’s seven RBIs. The Sun Devil offense looked to be as formidable as predicted tonight, with leadoff hitter Sierra Rodriguez joining Freeman and Steele after picking up two hits and a walk as the table setter.
Arizona State picked up their first win in this year’s Kajikawa Classic, while Creighton moved to 1-1 after beating Pacific 2-0 in a tournament game earlier today. The Sun Devils will look to move to 2-0 in their second game on Thursday as they take on the Western Michigan Broncos at Farrington Stadium.