Coming off of its first loss of the season last Sunday, the defending NCAA champion Sun Devil softball team dusted off its bats and recharged its offense in an 8-0 victory over Chattanooga on Thursday night at Farrington Stadium.
After a scoreless first inning, the No. 3 Sun Devils (6-1, 0-0 Pac-10) were the first to strike with a 3-run second inning that included a solo homerun by sophomore infielder Krista Donnenwirth.
The scoring onslaught carried over to the third inning when a double by junior infielder Katie Crabb drove in two runs.
Freshman pitcher Hillary Bach notched a pair of strikeouts and allowed no hits in the inning.
With the Sun Devils up 5-0 there was little stopping the combination of consistent offense and Bach’s impressive performance on the mound.
The freshman pitcher earned her fourth victory of the season with a complete game shutout.
Hits from freshman Annie Lockwood, sophomore Lesley Rogers and senior Jessica Mapes put the Sun Devils run total at eight, and solid defense and smart pitching shut out Chattanooga’s offense.
ASU coach Clint Myers said he was impressed with the performance of his young team and their ability to rebound from their first loss.
“I’m pretty pleased with the effort. I think Hillary pitched very well. I think we had a much better approach at the plate and that our defense really played well,” Myers said. “We’re going to take the loss for what it’s worth. It was something that shouldn’t have happened and it wasn’t that they beat us, it’s that we gave the game away with a non-Arizona State performance.”
Myers said beating Chattanooga was an impressive feat to put on the team’s resume, but added that there is still work to be done.
“Chattanooga is a good team. They beat Virginia Tech twice, which says something,” he said. “Our baserunning got much better but we need to work on consistency. Again, at the plate we had a much better approach. Home run was huge [and the] double was huge but it’s a far cry from where we’re going to be in May and June.”
Bach said she is beginning to feel more comfortable on the mound and is adapting to the competitiveness of collegiate sports.
“I’m getting to know myself and learning where to pitch [which] pitches, learning situations and placement on the plate,” Bach said. “I’m more confident and more relaxed out there. Now it’s a question of bringing my best game every day.”
The Sun Devils welcome Illinois State to the desert Friday and will have a rematch with Chattanooga as part of The Littlewood Classic this weekend.
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