(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
The No. 21 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils won three of five games over the weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California. ASU knocked off Notre Dame, Texas and UC-Santa Barbara, but fell to No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 14 Michigan.
ASU vs. No. 18 Texas A&M (Friday, Feb. 24)
It was a pure pitching duel in ASU’s first game of the Mary Nutter Classic as the game remained scoreless entering the ninth inning. In the top of the inning, senior Sashel Palacios drew a bases loaded walk to give the Devils the first run of the game. However, the Aggies were able to put two runs across the plate when sophomore Samantha Show doubled to deep center, scoring freshmen Sarah Hudek and Kelbi Fortenberry.
Aggies beat the Sun Devils 2-1 in nine frames as junior Lexi Smith earned the win with nine scoreless innings. Smith’s record went to 5-0, while ASU freshman Giselle Juarez took the loss and her record now stands at 2-1.
ASU vs. Notre Dame (Friday, Feb. 24)
In the second Friday game for the Sun Devils, ASU got started early on, scoring the first run of the game off a Margaret Stahm RBI single in the top of the first inning.
Notre Dame managed to tie the game up in the fourth inning, but in the bottom of the fifth, the Sun Devils put two runs on the scoreboard courtesy of a fielding error and a sacrifice fly to center field. Junior Breanna Macha pitched a complete game and pushed her record to 3-1.
ASU vs. Texas (Saturday, Feb. 25)
ASU stormed out to a 6-0 lead by the middle in the third inning. Sophomore Fa Leilua got things started in the top of the first inning with an RBI single to left field, scoring Miranda Farricker. The Longhorns scored one in the bottom of the third, but in the top of the fourth, Farricker and Stahm homered for the Sun Devils to increase the lead to 8-1.
In the the top of the sixth, Leilua homered to left field as ASU stretched the lead to 9-2. However, the Longhorns mounted a four run sixth inning comeback that included four RBI singles, but ASU held on to win 9-6. Junior Dale Ryndak picked up the win and is now 3-0 on the season and Juarez earned the save.
ASU vs. UC-Santa Barbara (Sunday, Feb. 26)
ASU broke the game wide-open early on courtesy of a seven run second inning. Leilua got it started with a two-run homer to left, then Farricker hit one down the left field line for a three-run home run. The Sun Devils would go on to win the game 8-0 in five innings. Freshman pitcher Alyssa Loza dished out a three-hitter for ASU and took home her third win of 2017.
ASU vs. No. 14 Michigan (Sunday, February 26)
In ASU’s final game of the Mary Nutter Classic, the Sun Devils clashed with the No. 14 ranked Michigan Wolverines and found themselves on the other end of a shutout. The Wolverines found the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning as junior pitcher Tera Blanco grounded out to second base, plating Abby Ramirez. Michigan added another run in the next inning when senior Lindsay Montemarano hit an RBI single up the middle, scoring Amanda Vargas. The Wolverines tacked on one final run in the fourth frame when sophomore Faith Canfield homered over the left field wall.
Michigan won the game 3-0. In the loss, the Sun Devils only could muster three hits as Blanco collected her fifth win of the season for Michigan. Senior Megan Betsa recorded her first save of the 2017 campaign. Meanwhile, Macha took the loss for the Devils and falls to 4-2 on the season.
The Sun Devils return to action on Thursday when they face the Michigan Wolverines in a rematch, but this time, the setting will be the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California. ASU will also see Cal State Fullerton, No. 24 Baylor, South Carolina and Iowa before returning home to Tempe.