(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
The Sun Devils continued their dominance at home Friday defeating the Nebraska Cornhuskers 12-1 in the opener of a three-game series in Tempe.
This marked No. 21 ASU’s fourth consecutive victory and its second win in a row via the mercy rule.
The Devils got off to a fast start with a five-run first inning. After three Sun Devils reached base with no hits and the help of two Nebraska fielding errors, senior catcher Sashel Palacios ripped a grand slam to right field jolting ASU to a 4-0 lead.
ASU kept the inning going as junior third baseman Marissa Stankiewicz followed the grand slam with a double. Two batters later, sophomore right fielder Fa Leilua singled to right field scoring Stankiewicz but was thrown out going to second to end the inning.
Nebraska only got one runner on base in the first two innings, but the Sun Devils continued piling on runs at a rapid pace.
Freshman designated player Randi Farricker started the scoring in the second with an RBI triple, bringing in sophomore third baseman Taylor Becerra after she walked. Senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales followed with an RBI double two batter later, bringing in Farricker.
Nebraska then pulled senior starter Cassie McClure after she gave up seven runs in 1.2 innings pitched. She went on to allow nine runs, although only four were earned, on five hits, three walks and two strikeouts in a losing effort.
ASU scored another five runs in the second inning after McClure was pulled, highlighted by a three-run homer from Leilua to center field.
The twelve runs ASU scored in the first two innings marked its highest total in a game all season and put it far enough in front to allow the pitching to carry them to victory.
ASU junior starter Breanna Macha pitched four strong innings, only allowing a run on an RBI single by senior third baseman MJ Knighten in the third. Macha allowed three hits total, walked one and struck out three in her seventh victory of the season.
Junior Dale Ryndak closed the game, taking four batters to get through the fifth inning and seal the mercy-rule win for the Sun Devils.
No. 21 ASU improved to 17-5 on the year and 11-1 at home with the win. Nebraska fell to 4-14 on the season with the loss.
The Sun Devils and Cornhuskers play game two of the series Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Tempe.