Tonight was all about the long ball as Arizona State hit five home runs en route to a 15-7 mercy rule victory over North Dakota at Farrington Stadium.
“At-bats are all about getting quality pitches. Home runs are nothing more than a by-product of a good swing,” head coach Clint Myers said.
The Sun Devils got rolling early as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning highlighted by freshman 1B Nikki Girard’s first career home run: a grand slam.
“I don’t hit a lot of homeruns so it was nice to finally get one,” Girard said.
North Dakota was able to get on the board in the second inning when DP Kenna Olsen hit a solo home run to center field. But the Sun Devils kept rolling in the second inning as OF Alix Johnson lead off the inning with a solo home run and four batters later, 3B Haley Steele hit a two run shot to left.
“She (Steele) got good pitches tonight. She took good swings on those pitches and had a good night,” Myers said.
Heading into the 5th inning, the Sun Devils were up 11-1 and three outs away from ending the game when Myers took starting pitcher Dallas Escobedo out and put freshman Jenna Makis in. After two runs, thanks in part to a Coyle error, and with the bases loaded, 1B D Jantzer hit a grand slam to cut the Sun Devil lead to 11-7. Through 17 games, the Sun Devils now have 18 errors.
“Defense has got to get better. Either that or we are going to have to change personnel. That 5th inning was not pretty,” Myers said.
But just like the story of the night, Amber Freeman and Steele both had two-run home runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game.
Steele was the player of the game going 3 for 3 with two home runs and six RBI.
The Sun Devils now face Binghamton tomorrow at 4:30 and North Dakota once again at 7 as part of the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational.
Game Notes: The mercy rule victory was the 7th of its kind for the Sun Devils this season. Alix Johnson improved her average from .224 to .255 after going 2 for 2 tonight. This is the first time since 2011 that the Sun Devils have had five or more home runs in a game. Now at 17-0, ASU is two wins away from tying the best start in school history, set in 2006.