(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
The softball version of the in-state rivalry got off to a tightly contested start. The No. 23 ASU softball team fell to the third-ranked team in the nation in Arizona, 4-3, on Friday in Tucson.
With the loss, ASU’s record falls to 27-14, with a Pac-12 record of 6-9. Meanwhile, Arizona improved its record to 46-4 and a Pac-12 record of 16-3, with conference losses only to Utah and Oregon.
The weekend series started out strong for the Wildcats as they went up 2-0 after one inning on a fielding error and an RBI single. However, ASU was able to tie the game up in the top of the second, scoring on an error and a sacrifice fly to center field by freshman Emma Ramelot.
Next inning, the Sun Devils took a 3-2 lead when senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales singled to right center field, scoring Taylor Becerra.
The lead would not last for long as the Wildcats tied the game in the bottom half of the third when freshman Jessie Harper singled to left, scoring Eva Watson.
The game remained tied at 3-3 until the bottom of the fifth inning, until Harper once again came up with a big hit. This time, it was an RBI double to right field that broke the tie, giving Arizona a 4-3 advantage. That lead would hold up for the remainder of the game as the Wildcats took game one, 4-3.
Redshirt senior Danielle O’Toole earned the win for the Wildcats, her 25th of the season. O’Toole went seven innings, conceding four hits and three walks, but striking out four batters.
ASU’s Breanna Macha took the loss for the Devils as her record fell to 11-6. Macha worked six innings, giving up six hits with four strikeouts on the day.
ASU and U of A meet on the field again on Saturday for game two of the three game series. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.