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ASU Softball: Sun Devils get swept again by Utes, skid continues

(Photo: Elaine Wilson/WCSN)

The No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils were unsuccessful in trying to snap their five game losing streak as they lost the last game of their series with Utah, 6-5.

After allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning, junior Kelsey Kessler battled back to keep the run from scoring.

In ASU’s half of the second inning, the first runner got in scoring position. Junior catcher Sashel Palacios roped a double to dead center field. She would be stranded at second after a pop out to second and then a strikeout ended the Sun Devil scoring opportunity.

The Utes scored first as they did in each of the first two games. After a one out walk issued to Kristen Stewart, junior pinch hitter Bridget Castro grounded a double down the first baseline to give Utah runners at second and third with one out. Stewart would come into score on a sacrifice fly from freshman Maddie Roth.

After the teams traded zeros in the third inning, the Sun Devils had another scoring chance. Junior Chelsea Gonzales doubled to left center field with one out and was chased home after the ensuing batter, Nikki Girard, lined a triple to left field tying the game at one a piece.

Girard was removed from the game in during the next at bat with concerns over her previously injured foot.

A fielder’s choice cut down the pinch runner Missy Eisen at home, and allowed Palacios to reach at first. Palacios would take second on a wild pitch and would come in on a wild play. Soria roped a single to third base and after taking a wide turn was caught in a rundown. While the rundown was happening, Palacios broke for home and after the throw was later Palacios scored and Soria was safe at second.

The two runs would be all the Sun Devils would get in the inning as they took their first lead of the series 2-1.

Utah quickly came back in the home half of the fourth. The first two batters reached base for the Utes and set up yet another scoring chance. Stewart then came up and hit a bases clearing triple to take back the lead for the Utes 3-2.

The Utes picked up one more run in the inning and go into the fifth inning up 4-2.

The best chance for ASU came in the top of the fifth. The first three batters reached and after a pop out Gonzales stepped into the box with the bases loaded. Gonzales would get an RBI on a fielder’s choice as Fa Leilua scored from third.

Girard stepped up next for the Sun Devils as she battled back from an 0-2 count to level the game at four.

After Kessler tossed a zero in the bottom of the fifth, ASU looked to regain the lead in the sixth. With runners on the corners, Katee Aguirre came into the game as a pinch hitter. Aguirre rolled over on a 1-2 pitch and weakly hit it back to the pitcher, Hailey Hilburn. Despite looking like a routine play, Hilburn pulled the first baseman off the bag allowing Aguirre to reach and Nicole Chilson to score the go ahead run.

After throwing 104 pitches in the game Kessler returned to the circle. The Utes got the first two runners on and after a shallow fly out to left field, Stewart brought home the tying run on a single.

Castro would end up winning the game for the Utes on a walk-off single ending the series in the second straight three game sweep for the Sun Devils.

The loss is the sixth in a row for ASU and its seventh in its last eight games. ASU dropped to 27-16 on the season and 3-9 in Pac-12 play.

No. 6 Oregon comes to Tempe next weekend.

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