Working the long ball
Every other swing in the third inning felt like a home run for Arizona State (4-0). The powerful Sun Devil lineup sent out four home runs against Utah (4-1) on their way to a 9-4 win on Saturday night.
Third baseman Bella Loomis collected her first hit of the season by sending a ball out to the light pole in right field for a solo home run to start the bottom of the third. Then catcher Maddi Hackbarth stepped up right after Loomis and delivered her second blast of the season.
She got the best bat flips in @NCAASoftball
— Sun Devil Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 14, 2021
Later in the third, first baseman DeNae Chatman got around on another pitch for a three-run home run herself to build the Sun Devil lead to eight. Right fielder Jazmine Hill started the home runs back in the second inning with an opposite field shot to bring in three herself.
Arizona State has scored at least seven runs in every game to open the season despite All-American Kindra Hackbarth having a slow start. That’s a good problem to have once it starts to click for her and the rest of the lineup contributes.
“Top to bottom of our lineup I think they’ve done a great job,” ASU coach Trisha Ford said. “They’ve been stringing at-bats together well. It’s just getting in that box and everyone goes at a different speed. That’s promising, no matter where we are at. It’s going to give Kindra some relief and that she doesn’t need to carry the team…and obviously we know she’ll be fine.”
Cielo Meza started the game in the circle. She faced little trouble until the fifth inning. She allowed four straight hits, leading to Ford replacing her with Lindsay Lopez.
Lopez did well after being put in a jam. Over three scoreless innings, she struck out four and only allowed three hits. Ford talked about why she decided to put the young lefty in the tough situation.
“She’s going to have to develop and get used to this role that she’s in,” Ford said. “I was very pleased with her. She had good (velocity), she was pumping that zone and her changeup was working well. I was most excited to see the emotion out of her after the game.”
ASU hosts Cal State Fullerton for a doubleheader on Tuesday.