ASU takes season series from Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. — The No. 21/21 Arizona State softball team scored nine runs on 12 hits and earned the series win over No. 14/14 Arizona with a 9-4 victory in Tucson on Saturday.

The Sun Devils (24-10, 5-2 Pac-12) won the series for the second-straight season, marking just the fourth time in the series history (since 1982) that ASU has won back-to-back series against the Wildcats.

A day removed from a valiant seventh-inning comeback to hand Arizona (27-9, 2-3 Pac-12) its first loss in Tucson all season, the Sun Devils made it two losses for the Wildcats at home in a contest where the Sun Devils put runs on the board in five of the seven innings in the contest.

Dale Ryndak (11-4) earned the victory, scattering six hits and four runs over five innings of work and keeping Arizona away from putting up a big inning. Breanna Macha came in and pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits to go with three strikeouts.

The Sun Devils never trailed in the contest, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never relinquishing it. Trish Parks (9-4) took the loss for Arizona, allowing seven runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

With the victory, the Sun Devils clinched a point in the annual Territorial Cup Series, extending the Arizona State lead to 7-5-5.5. 

The Sun Devils continued their offensive momentum from Friday evening, wasting no time getting on the scoreboard first in the top of the first.

After two quick outs to lead off the inning, Chelsea Gonzales singled up the middle and Amber Freeman drew a two-out walk after that to put runners on first and second for Palacios. The sophomore dropped one into the gap in right center to bring home Gonzales and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless second, the Sun Devils jumped all over Parks in the top of the third. Caporuscio reached on an infield single and back-to-back walks by Freeman and Palacios loaded the bases for Haley Steele.

Steele lined the first pitch she saw to the wall in right center for a double, bringing across two and giving ASU a 3-0 lead.

Steele took third and Kemp reached second base on a fielder’s choice while Palacios got caught in a pickle at third to bring up Nikki Girard with two outs.

The magnet in right center continued for the Sun Devils as Girard launched a double through the right side to clear the bases and give ASU a 5-0 lead.

Arizona answered in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot by Hallie Wilson  but the Sun Devils made it up and then some in the fourth as ASU put runners on second and third following back-to-back hits from Sierra Rodriguez and Caporuscio.

Gonzales played Rodriguez on a sacrifice fly to right field and Caporuscio came across on a Freeman single to put ASU back on top, 7-1.

Again, the Wildcats responded with another solo shot in the bottom of the inning, this time of the bat of Katiyana Mauga to make it a 7-2 game. Arizona would then add two more in the bottom of the fifth on a base-clearning single by Kellie Fox to get back within striking distance at 7-4.

Arizona entered Michelle Floyd into the game in the top of the sixth and she was promptly welcomed by Freeman’s 10th home run of the season, a solo shot that landed about 20 rows up in the bleachers in left field.

Two batters later, Steele put a charge into her seventh homer of the season on another solo shot to center field and ASU reclaimed a 9-4 edge — a lead the Sun Devils wouldn’t relinquish.