TEMPLE- No. 8 Arizona State (43-10) bounced back Saturday night by defeating No. 9 Northwestern (44-11) in another overtime game to force a game three in the Tempe Super Regional. After the win, Sun Devil Softball now holds a 3-1 record in overtime games on the season and has yet to lose a consecutive game this season.
It’s also only the second time in NCAA Super Regional history that the first two games have gone to extra innings. In 2012, Hofstra won Game 1 in 11 innings, while South Florida won Game 2 in nine.
It was an electric attacking night for Jaz Hill as she accounted for four of ASU’s RBIs tonight as she doubled in the first to score Alynah Torres and homered a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to bring back Cydney Sander and Yanni Acuna. In addition, jessica puk went 2 for 3 as she had a double in the top of the eighth to start extra inning play and had a single in the second.
Northwestern entered the board after a double-decker late in the second and after Hill’s homer in the top of the fifth, the Wildcats came within a run in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back hits.
The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on an error to force extra innings for the second time in two nights.
ASU had a response in the top of the eighth as Jessi Puk doubled up and was the first inning of the eighth out of Torres reaching a defender’s pick. After being hit and knocked in, Bella Loomis marked by a brace from Acuña. Makenna Harper then walked to Torres for round three of the inning.
“We let them stay and so tonight I could feel it,” said the head coach Trisha Ford said while playing another game in overtime. “They were like it wasn’t happening again and we’re not home so this team is fighting. We’re going to come out knocking tomorrow.”
The pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts tonight as Lindsay Lopezwho came in bottom of third, reached a career-high in strikeouts with nine, and earned his 13th win of the season. Allison Royalty got her first postseason start and she struck out three batters she faced.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN:
USS 7, Northwest 4
- The summit of the first began with a march for Alynah Torres and a blow by blow for Yanni Acuña. Torres and Acuña were third and second on a one-out error. Jaz Hill doubled to left field to bring in Torres and give the Sun Devils the lead. The Wildcats had a second-row runner with one out after a stolen base, but a double play got the starting pitcher Allison Royalty out of the jam.
- Jessi Puk hit a hit against the North West pitcher with two outs to have a runner for ASU, but got stuck in the top of the second. NU loaded the bases and Royalty had back-to-back outs to get two quick outs, but an error gave the Wildcats their first inning of the game.
- The Sun Devils went down in order in their third inning half to tie the game. Late in the third, the Wildcats scored a one-out double and Lindsay Lopez came in relief, having one strikeout and one out to end the inning.
- Hill picked second base to get a start for Arizona State in the top of the fourth. Jazmyn Rollin advanced to a defensive player’s third choice from Savannah Price with two outs, but got stuck. Lopez collected three strikeouts late in the fourth to keep things tied.
- Acuña reached first on the pick of a defender and advanced for second on a walk by Cydney Sander. Hill hit left field for a three-point shot to give the Sun Devils the lead in the top of the fifth. The Wildcats’ back-to-back one-out hits put them within one, 4-3, in the bottom of the fifth.
- Jessi Puk was walked to be the first for the Sun Devils in the top of the sixth, but was left stranded as Lopez had two strikeouts in the bottom of the sixth.
- Acuña was hit by a pitch for the second time tonight to open the seventh inning for the Sun Devils. She was able to second Hill’s fourth hit of the night on a single to shortstop, but both runners were left on base. An error tied the game for the Wildcats to force extra innings.
- Puk doubled the left field line at the top of the eighth and pinches the batter Kristiana Watson single to left field to bring Puk to third. Torres reached a defender’s pick to score Puk and Acuña doubled to score Bella Loomis, who returned to the race. Sanders was walked to charge the bases with one out and Harper walked to Torres to give ASU the 7-4 lead.
- Lopez had two strikeouts with a groundout to go 1-2-3 to force Game 3 of the Tempe Super Regional.
The head coach Trisha Ford
A team stepping up in other areas
“Everyone is going to have to contribute. It might not be offensive, it might be a base run, it might be bunting, it might be defense, but everyone will have to contribute. I think that’s what’s really special about this team is that they’ve all embraced their roles and really embraced the team first So if any part of their game is wrong in their meaning, they do a pretty good job focusing on another part.
On the program to start tonight and for tomorrow’s game
“We’ve got kind of the full range of pitchers, obviously Roy is spinning with a good shift, she’s done a great job of keeping them off balance. And we were keeping her in a certain amount of time and Lindsay had to come in, or Marissa, depending on where we were in the lineup. So Lindsay got the ball and she ran with it. It’s going to take everyone tomorrow, so we’re in.
Launcher Lindsay Lopez
Arriving in the middle of the game instead of starting
“Last season I always felt like I came in the middle game, so I was familiar with that and that feeling of stepping into my zone and being comfortable with myself. .”
Play at this level as a local student-athlete
“It means a lot to know that I have such close family and friends who can come and see me live. I’m so glad I got to this, I put in a lot of hard work and I was going to be an example for the people where I came from.”
Outfielder Jaz Hill
On the improvements from last night to tonight
“Honestly, looking back on it, I just let my emotions get to me yesterday. I want to see as many pitches as I do and like what Coach Ford told us, I like it tough. So, I really liked all the hard yesterday but acknowledging what she’s throwing and focusing more.”
As a team picking it up
“After I missed the ball it kinda stung me because I hate letting my team down. But I love our girls so much and the chemistry we all have because after that everyone was like ‘Jaz , we got you, don’t even worry.’ So that meant a lot to me, I love our girls so much.”
TEMPE SUPER TIME REGIONAL VS. NO.9 NORTHWEST SEED
Game 1 – Friday May 27 – NU 4, ASU 3
Game 2 – Saturday May 28 – ASU 7, NU 4
Game 3 – Sunday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m. MST, ESPNU