(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
It is an unfortunate position to be the team that plays Arizona State following a four-hit loss for the Sun Devils. In the second game of the Saturday-night doubleheader for ASU, that position fell to the Indiana State Sycamores (2-6) who were trumped by ASU 14-0 in five innings.
After a subpar performance for ASU against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Game 1, losing 4-1, the Devils came out with a vengeance in Game 2, jumping on the Sycamores for eight runs in the first inning while sending 12 women to the plate.
The highlight of the inning was a bases-loaded double to the wall in left field by Nikki Girard to make ASU’s lead 6-0. The Devils would tack on two more in the frame on RBI from Sierra Rodriguez and Elizabeth Caporuscio.
Indiana State starter Yvette Alavarez was pulled after the first inning, finishing with eight runs allowed (five earned), six hits and two walks.
Freshman pitcher Breanna Macha knew exactly what to do with that kind of run support. She was at ease in the circle all night long, mowing down ISU batters without allowing any chance of a prolonged inning.
“I thought she had a pretty good night.” Said ASU Head Coach Craig Nicholson of his freshman hurler. “She just needs to keep working to make sure that the ball’s moving and she’s hitting her spots and changing speeds.”
Once the score ballooned to 10-0 after two innings, Nicholson used the large cushion to start replacing the starters with reserves as a way of evaluating using game action.
“Those kids work just as hard as the people that are playing every day, and I think it’s important when we have an opportunity to get them in there,” Nicholson said. “The other piece of that is if you happen to have an injury down the road and somebody’s got to step in and play, at least they’ve had a little bit of time under their belt.”
The 14-0 victory was a great end to the night given the disappointing performance put forth against Minnesota in Saturday’s first game, a game that Nicholson felt could’ve gone differently based on his club’s usual hitting prowess.
“I thought our approach early in the game against Minnesota we were just a little passive… I thought we got some pitches to hit that we took, and obviously we had some opportunities early in that game.”
Overall, an 11-5 start for ASU is surprising to most, but all Nicholson cares about at this point is growth from his team in all facets.
“I do see improvement. Even in the first game tonight, Minnesota’s a very very good ball club, I thought we competed, I thought our defense was much cleaner than it was opening weekend… We’re getting better, and that’s our biggest focus, to get better every weekend.”
Arizona State (11-5) now will look ahead to Sunday when they close out the Diamond Devil Invitational against New Mexico State (8-6).