(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Back home after a tough sweep in Salt Lake City, the No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils dropped their seventh straight game, a 10-4 contest against the No. 5 Oregon Ducks.
The game got off to a less than ideal start for the Sun Devils as the first two batters reached base off of sophomore started Dale Ryndak. Unphased, Ryndak got the three hole hitter, and offensive leader for the Ducks, Koral Costa to pop up to third and then got Geri Ann Glasco to roll into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
ASU would see its first two batters reach base as well after junior Chelsea Gonzales singled to lead off the inning and freshman Taylor Becerra followed that up by reaching on an error. A costly failed double steal attempt and some lazy fly outs to the right field ended the threat for ASU with the score still 0-0.
The Ducks once again had runners in scoring position in the second inning. Oregon had runners on second and third with just one out. Once again Ryndak was able to get out of it with a less orthodox 1-2-6-4-8-5 double play, one of many in the game.
“I feel so confident in them,” Ryndak said of her infield. “I don’t have worries when I put someone on first base. Obviously I don’t want to be giving up lead off hits, but I know when I do that they will make plays behind me.”
To lead off the inning junior Sashel Palacios sent a ball off the right field wall, missing a home run by a matter of inches. Senior Katee Aguirre followed that up with a rocket to center field that did clear the wall giving the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead on Aguirre’s fifth home run of the season.
Oregon got those two runs back in their half of the third. Nikki Udria, who leads the Ducks in home runs with 11 coming into tonight, sent one out to deep center field to tie the game at two.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Ducks came to bat in the top of the fifth. With runners on first and third the Sun Devils looked to concede a run and get the runner stealing second. However, the Sun Devils failed to record the out at second and the run scored giving Oregon the 3-2 lead.
The Ducks continued to plate runners in the inning. Two more runs came in as Udria stepped up again and knocked a single into center field. The two runs would end Ryndak’s day after 4+ innings.
Two more runs would score in the inning making the score 7-2 before ASU turned its fourth double play of the inning to retire the side.
Big innings once again proved costly, something co-interim head coach Robert Wagner realizes can’t happen in games like this.
“If you want to beat the No. 5 team in the country you better bring some pitching and defense,” Wagner said. “We just have to pitch better. We have to make pitches in better spots.”
ASU came right back in the bottom half quickly cutting the deficit to three on a two run shot off the bat of Jennifer Soria.
The nail in ASU’s coffin came in the top of the seventh inning. Senior Janelle Lindvall stepped up with two on and two out and skied a three run home run into right center field to widen the gap to 10-4.
The loss is the Sun Devils seventh straight and eighth out of their last nine games. ASU fell to 27-17 and 3-10 in Pac-12 play. Even with the streak reaching seven games Aguirre said keeping morale high isn’t too hard.
“I think if we can just take the positive out of every loss, like tonight it was our offense and build off of that and we’ll come around I have no doubt in this team.”
Game two of the series is tomorrow at 7 p.m on the Pac-12 Network.