The ASU softball team did its best to hang on to its No. 5 ranking during the Littlewood Classic over the weekend, taking four out of five games in the tournament.
ASU (9-2) split the first day with a near-perfect 19-0 drubbing of Rutgers and a 10-9 extra-inning loss to Illinois State.
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The Sun Devils bagged two wins Saturday, 6-3 over Texas State and 7-4 over Iowa, and wrapped up the weekend with another route of RU, 14-0.
ASU senior pitcher Megan Elliott came out firing on the opening night of tournament, coming one error away from a perfect game against RU. She instead finished with a no-hitter for her third win of the season in the five-inning game.
“I was in command,” Elliott said. “Everything kind of just fell into place.”
Elliott got plenty of run support in the blowout, as every starter in the ASU lineup had at least one hit.
Freshman second baseman Sam Parlich led ASU at the plate with the first home run of her career and four RBI.
“It’s very reassuring to know that your team’s behind you scoring all those runs,” Elliott said.
While ASU came close to a perfect win in the opener, game two against ISU proved to be a struggle.
ASU sophomore pitcher Hillary Bach threw four solid innings, allowing just two hits as her offense provided support.
Sophomore shortstop Katelyn Boyd notched her sixth home run of the season in the first inning, and the fourth inning saw ASU put four runs on the board to take a 7-0 lead into the fifth inning.
Bach allowed a run in the fifth and sixth innings, and then the floodgates opened in the seventh.
ISU made it a game with a furious game-tying five-run rally, with the final two runs coming on an error as Parlich nearly ended the game.
“We played terrible defense,” ASU coach Clint Myers said, noting the team’s five errors. “It’s difficult to win when you give good ballclubs extra opportunities.”
In extra innings, ISU freshman Elizabeth Kay played hero, with a two-run double off Parlich in the ninth and a run that ultimately won it for the Redbirds, as ASU sophomore outfielder Annie Lockwood’s two-run single in the bottom of the inning left the Sun Devils short by one run. Parlich took the loss.
Saturday brought a quieter day, as ASU collected two wins in rainy conditions.
Game one against Texas State saw Bach (3-0) collect her third win in a complete-game effort, allowing thee runs on six hits.
“She didn’t quite have her best stuff [against ISU] and she wasn’t hitting her spots,” Myers said. “But she pitched a lot better today.”
The game was tied entering the sixth inning, when ASU put four runs on the board behind a two-run double from Boyd. Junior catcher Lacy Goodman went 2-for-4 with two RBI in her first start of the year.
UI took an early lead in the second game, as junior second baseman Chelsea Carmody launched a two-run home run to left-center off of Elliott in the third at-bat of the game.
ASU bounced back right away with a run in the second inning and three in the third to chase UI senior ace Amanda Zust from the game.
The Hawkeyes tied it up in the fourth, but ASU put up three more runs, including Boyd’s seventh home run of the season to make Elliott 4-1 on the season.
On Sunday, ASU again crushed RU as Parlich (2-1) started the second game of her career and again threw a two-hit shutout.
“I’m just trying to relax and not get too nervous,” Parlich said. “It’s a lot easier to pitch when you’ve got run support.”
Much of the run support could be credited to RU’s four pitchers who gave up 11 walks. ASU’s 13-run third inning came on just seven hits and saw every player in the lineup cross the plate.
The highlight was senior second baseman Ashley Muenz’s three-run home run to left.
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