(Photo: Elaine Wilson/WCSN)
Arizona State softball, No. 20/22 in the country, kicked off their season in grand fashion with a doubleheader against Utah State and San Jose State.
“I thought it was a good start,” ASU co-interim head coach Robert Wagner said. “We did a good job of executing. We have got to clean up a few things. We just have to keep getting better, it is a good start, but it is not where we want to be.”
The Sun Devils got their season kicked off the right way by mercy ruling Utah State in five innings by a score of 11-1. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Breanna Macha was on the circle in this game.
Macha gave up one in the second inning on a solo homerun to junior right fielder Alleyah Armendariz, but the Sun Devil offense had a resounding answer.
ASU scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning highlighted by senior center fielder Jennifer Soria’s two run single down the left field line.
The offense did not stop there as the Sun Devils put themselves in position for a mercy rule by putting up a six spot in the bottom of the third. Sophomore outfielder Nichole Chilson drove in three in the inning with a blast out to right field.
Senior second baseman Nikki Girard went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Dale Ryndak came out of the bullpen in the fourth inning to take over for Macha. Ryndak pitched two shutout innings, not giving up any hits to close out game one.
San Jose State
ASU faced San Jose State in the second game and won by a score of 8-0 in five innings.
As game two got underway redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Kelsey Kessler took the circle for her first time for the Sun Devils since transferring from Kansas.
“It was great,” Kessler said. “I was a little bit nervous in the first inning which I am ashamed to admit, but it was exciting and I’m glad to be back out there.”
Through the first three innings Kessler found herself in trouble while giving up six hits in those two innings. Although, a couple nice plays defensively from ASU, including an outfield assist at home plate by Soria to end the first inning, got Kessler out of danger.
The Sun Devils struck first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning with a RBI single to right field off the bat of Soria.
Soria’s bat stayed hot into the bottom of the fifth inning as she launched a three-run homerun out to left field. The hit gave her six RBIs on the day.
“I like to pride myself in my work ethic,” Soria said. “It was really good to be back out here. First had to get the game jitters out, and then that last at bat I was feeling pretty comfortable.”
The three run spot gave the Sun Devils their second mercy rule of the night. ASU is now 2-0 to start their season.
“We are just trying to play Arizona State softball,” Soria said. “We are not worried about our opponent over there as much as we are worried about ourselves.”
The Sun Devils will face no. 8/9 Tennessee Friday at 7:30 p.m.