No. 16 ASU softball fell to No. 4 Florida 7-2 Friday night as with pitching struggles and fielding errors proving to be costly.
No. 16 ASU softball stayed in Tempe against No. 4 Florida in a top-20 matchup. The Sun Devils started hot, but pitching was not on their side after many errors allowed the Gators to open up the game. Florida took the game over late in the game and stole a win in Tempe 7-2.
The crowd was rowdy throughout the night as the stadium was near to full capacity. Everyone in the stands were utterly shocked to see freshman pitcher Abby Andersen start the game for the Sun Devils in a big key matchup.
She came into the game with a wide variety of pitches, showing velocity and rotation on her 2-seam fastballs and curveballs as well. However, the first at-bat of the game was a solo home run by Florida first baseman Amanda Lorenz.
Lorenz had the Sun Devils number as she capped off the night going 2-for-3 with two home runs and two walks. Lorenz gave the Gators three of their runs.
Andersen had a great opening outing with a 2.80 ERA through 3 innings and her off speed pitches allowed the outfield to get many easy fly balls. However, she did hit some bumps as she had two walks and three hit by pitches.
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“All this is just good learning tools,” head coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought she did nicely against one of the most powerful lineups in the country.”
After three innings, the Gators were up 2-1 after Kindra Hackbarth hit a solo home run in the first inning. Hackbarth played with tenacity as she finished with a home run, a bunt single, and two putouts.
“I was just swinging,” Hackbarth said. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I just went in loose and comfortable.”
The Gators scored in the second inning after the Sun Devils’ first error of the game.
The error occurred between a pickle with Maddi Hackbarth and Taylor Beccera. Hackbarth threw the ball over Beccera’s head and allowed sophomore Romanello to score.
Hackbarth’s bunt and Morgan Howe’s double off the wall in the third tied the game for the Sun Devils, but they were unable to cap off any more runs as the Gators answered back in the top of the fourth with Lorenz’s second home run.
Mikayla Santa Cruz stepped in and gave up that home run as she had a tough night. She loaded the bases early in the fifth and gave up four runs through three hits, two walks and another hit by pitch. She tended to be wild and got pulled after one inning.
Cielo Meza finished the game for the Sun Devils and finished the game strong with a handful of strikeouts and no earned runs.
Overall, there was huge potential for the young Andersen and Santa Cruz, but it was a tough night against the fourth-ranked Gators. Florida played a strong all-around game with Kelly Barnhill pitching a complete game.
“We were in it the first three or four innings,” Howe said. “There is no doubt if we play them again that we can beat them nine times out of 10.”
The No. 16 Sun Devils will look to bounce back on Saturday against the Central Michigan Chippewas in the Littlewood Classic at 2 p.m. MT.