(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
The No. 22/20 Arizona State softball team took on East Carolina University the night after an eight-inning win against No. 8 Tennessee, and mercy ruled the Pirates in five innings by a score of 9-1.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Dale Ryndak got the nod as starter for the first time this season. Ryndak pitched three innings and gave up one unearned run, striking out three.
“It felt good to get back out there again,” Ryndak said. “Just kind of normal. We do a lot of live (play) in practice so it was not a big deal.”
The Sun Devils showcased some patient at-bats in the bottom half of the first inning, taking six walks. The patience paid off as ASU put up a quick 5-0 lead.
Junior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales delivered a two-run double over the head of the centerfielder to set the tone for ASU early.
“When I saw the first good pitch I just took a hack at it,” Gonzales said. “It felt really good. It was good to bring runs in.”
The Pirates plated a run in the top of the third on an error by freshman third baseman Taylor Becerra, who mishandled a groundball. That was the second of three ASU errors on the day.
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Kelsey Kessler took over for Ryndak in the fourth inning. Kessler would finish out the game pitching two innings of shutout ball and striking out three.
The Sun Devils extended their lead even further following errant pitching from the Pirates. ASU would finish the day with eight walks.
This game was ASU’s third mercy rule of its first four games.
“I think its good and we will take a win any way we can get,” ASU co-interim head coach Robert Wagner said. “It’s good to win in different ways. Sometimes its maybe with the long-ball and gappers, sometimes it’s with bunts and stealing. We just want to be as balanced as we can be.”
Next up for the Sun Devils is Portland State and San Diego Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m.