(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
The No. 22 ASU softball team took the Friday night opener over Pac-12 foe California 9-7 at Farrington Stadium in Tempe. It was the 10th time this season the Sun Devils scored nine runs or more, including the fifth time in conference play.
ASU scored the first runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning, when sophomore Fa Leilua crushed a three-run home run to left field, giving the Devils a 3-0 lead. The home run was Leilua’s 10th of the season.
The scoring continued for ASU in the bottom of the next inning as the long ball play continued when junior Nichole Chilson hit a two-run homer to center field, extending the Sun Devil advantage to 5-0. It was Chilson’s fourth of 2017 and, adding another run before the end of the frame, ASU led 6-0 after four.
In the top of the sixth inning, it was 6-1 Sun Devils, but a fielding error and two singles suddenly made the game 6-4. It seemed the Golden Bears had grabbed the momentum back, but after a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales and a runner on base, senior catcher Sashel Palacios sent a ball beyond the center field wall. The Sun Devils had a 9-4 lead and it would ultimately prove to be the winning hit.
Up 9-4 entering the top of the seventh inning, ASU needed just three outs to seal the deal. However, Cal chased junior pitcher Breanna Macha from the game when Jazmyn Jackson hit an RBI single to left field, cutting the Sun Devil advantage to 9-5.
ASU head coach Trisha Ford made the move to the bullpen and elected to replace Macha with fellow junior pitcher Dale Ryndak. Ryndak would concede a two-run double, but also notched the final three outs the Devils needed and ASU holds off Cal 9-7.
With the win, Macha earned her 12th victory of the season and pushed her record to 12-8.
Friday in 2017 has generally proven to be a good day for Sun Devil softball. Since the Devils began play back in February, ASU has recorded at least one Friday win in all but three Fridays when the team was in action.
Up Next For ASU
ASU will face California in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, looking to win the series in Tempe. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m.