Kindra Hackbarth and Alli Tatnall homer to give ASU softball some offensive fire power for the first time in weeks, but suffered their most lopsided loss.
8-0, 8-0, 2-0, 10-0 and 9-0. The scores of the last five contests for ASU softball.
All five defeats had come to top 10 ranked Pac-12 opponents (Arizona for first three defeats and then UCLA for the latter two). And with one more game left to play against the No. 1 Bruins and a three game series in Seattle against No. 6 Washington on the horizon, the path to scoring a run, let alone winning a game, wasn’t about to get any easier.
On Sunday afternoon it seemed like that scoreless/losing streak was to continue. UCLA had a 16-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, and Bruins starting pitcher Holly Azevedo was in cruise control through the first two innings.
But then Bella Loomis singled for the Sun Devils first hit. Five pitches later, Alli Tatnall’s fly ball was flying over the center field fence.
Just like that, ASU’s string of 53 unanswered runs (including Sunday’s game) was over. The Sun Devils had scored for the first time in two weeks.
A Kindra Hackbarth two-run homer four batters later made it a 16-4 game in the third as Hackbarth added a fifth ASU run in the fifth on an RBI single.
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But Hackbarth’s efforts were not enough for ASU to avoid the five inning run-rule, eventually falling to UCLA by a final score of 16-5.
“It was good, those last couple of innings,” head coach Trisha Ford said after the loss. “The worst is hopefully out of our system now. I am feeling much better about our offensive attack.”
UCLA is a great team. In fact, they’re actually the best team. The Bruins were 10-for-16 with runners in scoring position and 11-for-20 at the plate with runners on base. The Bruins recorded just as many runs as they had hits and went 16-for-30 on the day overall.
It was an appallingly impressive performance to say the least. Finishing off a sweep of the No. 21 ranked Sun Devils in their own park while improving to 35-1 on the season.
“They’re scoring a lot of runs against a lot of pitchers across the country,” Ford said.
For the Sun Devils, Sunday’s defeat marks the teams sixth straight loss. The defeat likely takes ASU out of the rankings while a difficult Pac-12 schedule will not make things easier for the Sun Devils.
But despite this tough stretch of performances coach Ford doesn’t want ASU’s faithful to start giving up on this team.
“If you’re a true fan and you really believe in what these young ladies do day in and day out then you show up and you really support us throughout the ups and downs,” Ford said. “That’s what being part of a family is. It’s when you support through the ups and downs.
“I’m telling you guys we’re going to be a good team. We’re going to be fine.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.