(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
After an hour and a half delay due to field conditions, No. 12 Washington mowed over No. 21 Arizona State 7-2 led by dominant pitching.
ASU put its ace in the circle in Kelsey Kessler and Washington started freshman Taran Alvelo.
Washington showed why they are a top-10 team in the country early on.
“We knew going into the game that Washington is one of the best offensive teams in the country and they took advantage of the pitches I didn’t spot,” Kessler said.
Kessler looked tight in the first inning and the Huskies took advantage. Trysten Melhart led the game off with a single and Ali Aguilar also reached on a walk. That brought cleanup hitter Kimberlee Souza to box and she crushed a three run homerun over the wall in left center field. Souza’s seventh homerun of the season gave Washington the early 3-0 lead.
“As a pitching staff we need to be a little bit better getting ahead on the batters and not get behind early on in the game,” co-head coach Letty Olivarez said.
The long wait didn’t affect the bats for either team and ASU was able to get on the scoreboard. Taylor Becerra gathered a leadoff walk and after an Abby Spiel strikeout. In stepped the Pac-12 player of the week Jennifer Soria. She lined a homerun to straight away centerfield for her team leading 11th of the season.
Following a smooth second inning, Kessler was put in a bit of a jam with no one out in the top of the third inning. Runners were at the corners and Aguilar managed to hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field. That scored the speedy Melhart.
The Sun Devils avoided giving up another run the very next batter. Souza singled up the middle and centerfielder Jenn Soria gunned Julia DePonte out at home plate.
The game broke open a bit in the fifth inning when the Huskies posted two runs. Kessler started the inning but struggled to get the second out of the inning. She gave up two walks and a single before Morganne Flores doubled to right centerfield scoring two of her teammates. Kessler walked the next batter and Olivarez decided she was done for the night.
Kessler said after the game that she had received some sad personal news before the game and admitted that she didn’t feel totally focused.
Breanna Macha came into the game and was able to get the first two batters she faced to fly out to end the long inning. It ended with three runners left on base. Through the top of the fifth Washington led 7-2.
There was only one way to describe Washington’s Taran Alvelo: dominant. The hard throwing righty took care of nearly everyone in her path. After giving up two runs in the first Alvelo didn’t give up another hit until the bottom of the seventh inning.
The freshman finished the game with eight strikeouts and only gave up two hits. It was with the help of that power that lifted the Huskies over Arizona State with ease.
Kessler was the losing pitcher as ASU dropped its 11th game of the season.
“We need to clear this game out of our head but at the same time learn from it,” Soria said. “I just think we need to come with more intensity and sense of urgency.”
The Sun Devils will look to bounce back for game two of the series Saturday. First pitch will be 7:00 pm at Farrington Stadium.