ASU softball comes back with a vengeance for 11-1 win

What goes around comes around.

It didn’t take the ASU softball team long to recover from the 12-6 beat-down it got in Thursday’s series opener with University of Arizona.

The Sun Devils were almost run-ruled by the Cats in the opener before a Katelyn Boyd homer pushed them past the tipping point.  Maybe that’s what it took to put the steam back in the Devils’ game because the Devils DID run-rule their visiting rivals, racking up the 11-1 win in five innings.

ASU has mercy-ruled opponents in 12 of their 35 games coming into the series, but this one was bigger than all those.  This game marked the first time the Sun Devils have won a game against Arizona by run-rule.

It’s beginning to look like the answer to winning is to send a freshman in to get the hard work done.  Which ASU did last night as the Sun Devils sent Sam Parlich to the circle, hoping she would fare better than their ace sophomore, Hillary Bach, in the opener.  Bach, who owns a 1.26 ERA and came into the series with just one loss in 16 starts, was pummeled for 11 runs on 11 hits.

Parlich didn’t have the dazzling resume that Bach has built this season, coming into the series with a 5-2 record and 2.084 ERA.  But she got the job done, holding the top-scoring team in the nation to just four hits and striking out five.  “Sam is that kind of player,” ASU coach Clint Myers said after the game.  “She just goes out and does whatever she’s asked.”

That included helping to get ASU on the board quickly.  She hit a triple in the first inning that scored two runs, part of a four-run rally the Devils put together with two outs already in the book.

ASU is a get-ahead-and-stay-ahead kind of team.  If you look back on their games this season, they are 23-1 when they score first.  Last night was textbook Devils.

By the fourth inning, the Devils’ hitters had cranked up a 6-1 lead.  Stacie Chambers, a local product from Cactus High School in Glendale, provided the lone UofA run with a RBI double in the third.

UofA’s starting pitcher Sarah Akamine, who was 10-1 coming into the series, was pulled in the fourth inning after one of her worst career performances.  She has never allowed 10 runs.  In an out-of-sync performance, she was called for five illegal pitches, including a balk that brought across an ASU run.

The Devils had two outs in the fourth before exploding for five more runs, thanks in large part to a three-run homer by Annie Lockwood off the UofA relief pitcher, Ashley Ralston-Alvarez.

When they got done counting noses last night, 2,048 fans had come through the gates at Farrington Stadium.  The capacity is supposed to be around 1,500.  A lot of people were standing for the whole game, but they only had to last five innings.

If they were ASU fans, they probably figure they got their money’s worth.

If they were UofA fans, they can’t wait until today’s game starts, to get a fresh slate and a chance to see if their team can come back the way ASU did.

The winner gets the State Farm Territorial Cup points for the series – and the bragging rights, which are probably even more important.

Game is at 1 p.m.  But don’t bother looking for tickets.  It’s SRO again.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)