(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Looking to snap their 12 game losing streak, the Arizona State Sun Devils returned home to take on the Stanford Cardinal. They would succeed in that goal winning 9-1 in five innings.
After three straight walks loaded the bases to start the inning for ASU, it drew first blood on an RBI fielder’s choice of the bat of Nikki Girard.
The one run was the only one the Sun Devils managed as they stranded runners on second and third.
Junior Kelsey Kessler got the start for ASU and set the Cardinal down quickly in her first two innings of work.
The Sun Devils got another run on the board after Nicole Chilson doubled to left field and after a wild pitch was brought in by groundout to second off the bat of Margaret Stahm.
Three batters later after senior Abby Spiel reached on an infield hit, fellow senior Jennifer Soria stepped up and hit her team leading 14th home run giving ASU the 4-0 lead. The home run moved Soria into a tie for third in conference.
Stanford got a run bat with two outs in its half of the third. Senior first basemen Kayla Bonstrom skied a solo shot just over the right field fence.
A leadoff walk would chase Cardinal starter Carolyn Lee in the bottom of the third. Haley Snyder came on in relief and gave up a run on an illegal pitch.
Two batters later freshman Fa Leilua stepped up and roped a two RBI single down the left field line to widen the gap to 7-1.
Kessler continued to cruise putting up another scoreless frame as the game went to the bottom of the fourth with the score still 7-1.
In the bottom of the fifth the Sun Devils need just two runs to get the mercy rule victory. Three batters after Fa Leilua barely missed a game winning home run, Nikki Girard lined a single down the third baseline bringing in Spiel and Soria to make the score 9-1 and seal the victory.
ASU’s offense stepped up in areas that it struggled with during the losing streak. The Sun Devils hit .385 with runners in scoring position.
Kessler got the win for the Sun Devils, her 14th of the year, with a final line of five innings just the one run and three strikeouts.
The win snaps what has been a 12 game losing streak for the Sun Devils and marks their first conference win since April 3. ASU moves to 28-22 on the season and 4-15 in Pac-12 play, game two of this series is set for tomorrow at noon and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.