(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
The first game of the Diamond Devil Invitational for the Arizona State Sun Devils would be a low-scoring grind against the Boise State Broncos. Thanks to solid pitching, ASU won 4-3.
It was a freshman-pitching duel. In the circle for ASU was Breanna Macha who entered with a 3-3 record in four starts. For Boise State, Rachel Rodriguez would receive her first start of the season.
The action started early, as the Sun Devils got on the board in the first inning. They got off to a hot start with back-to-back hits at the top of the order for Sierra Rodriguez and Elizabeth Caporuscio. The stage was set for the Devils offense. After two outs and a walk Chelsea Gonzalez hit an infield single, bringing home Rodriguez to make the score 1-0.
Boise State wouldn’t let the Devils gain momentum, as they strung together some hits of their own. The damage came off the bat of Kayla Clausen who singled down the first baseline scoring Rachel Rodriguez.
The Sun Devils wouldn’t allow the score to stay stagnant for long as they came back in the bottom of the second and got a run on the board from a sacrifice fly by Caporuscio.
ASU added some more padding to their lead in the third inning when Amber Freeman took a pitch yard to start the half inning for her fourth homerun of the season. Bethany Kemp backed that up with a double, and two batters later Sashel Palacios brought in Kemp with a RBI sacrifice fly, increasing their lead, 4-1.
After a shaky start to the ballgame, Macha managed to avoid giving up runs in the first and third inning by leaving runners stranded. The righty then threw three scoreless innings.
Entering the top of the seventh inning Macha was looking to close out the contest with a complete game. But the Broncos wouldn’t go down easy, as Teauna Hughes reached on a fielders choice, followed by a Devon Bridges double, scoring Hughes from second.
When Sara Ketelsleger made the second out of the inning it looked like the Sun Devils were in home free. But the cleanup batter, Makenzie Sullivan, singled bringing in the third run of the game for Boise State.
Coach Craig Nicholson decided to pull Macha after 144 pitches and 6.2 innings pitched. He would bring Dale Ryndak into the game and she would get the job done finalizing the win for ASU 4-3.
Rachel Rodriguez did everything in her power to take care of the Sun Devils lineup. She ended her night with three straight scoreless innings. However the four runs (three earned) were two much as the Sun Devils pulled out the close victory.
The back-end of the double header is coming up in near minutes. ASU will get another test in Colorado State who already won their first game today.