Hey, batter batter: Offense sparks ASU softball team to nation-leading win streak

Arizona State softball players have had a lot to celebrate, as, from left, Jazmyn Rollin, Jazmine Hill and Bella Loomis do, hugging Cydey Sanders after her two-run home at the bottom of the sixth inning in a recent game against Utah. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Arizona State’s success at the plate comes from the depth present in its dugout. Makenna Harper sparked the Sun Devils early with a grand slam in the first inning. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Sanders has already made her mark for the Sun Devils in her freshman year, winning her second honor for D1 Softball Freshman of the Week and second Pac 12 Freshman of the Week after their series with Utah. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Lynah Torres, who is batting .387, frequently makes contact with the ball, as she did here at Farrington Stadium. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

ASU is not only about offense. Consistency on the mound has been a key factor to its success. Marrisa Schuld (1.55) is one of three Sun Devils rated in the top 11 in the Pac 12 in ERA. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

ASU infielder Savannah Price knows to keep her eye on the ball as she looks to score. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Hill is a key player in an offense that has thrived for the ASU softball team. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – Spring is in full swing and so is the No. 10 Arizona State softball team, which holds the longest active win streak in college softball.

After No. 18 Texas’ 4-2 win over undefeated No. 1 Oklahoma Saturday, the Sun Devils secured the top spot of longest win streak in the country on the same day with their 8-7 victory over Utah. The victory improved their streak to 20 and put their undefeated start in Pac-12 play at 12-0.

Tonight they start a three-game series at Stanford, a team that ranks 10th nationally in ERA (1.82). Sunday’s finale is already sold out.

With all eyes on the team from Tempe, the pressure is now on ASU to continue one of the best starts in the program’s history.

“We don’t really talk about it. … For us, it’s just, you know, continuing our approach and keep our nose down,” coach Trisha Ford said after the Sun Devils’ April 15 win over Utah.

Focusing on their game instead of the noise surrounding other teams, the Sun Devils’ streak is closing the gap on their previous streak in 2008 of 28 straight wins, thanks to a high-powered offense.

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Ford credited assistant coach Jeff Harger for the team’s offensive dominance.

“He just does a tremendous job each and every year of connecting with his players and getting buy-in, and it’s really the next man standing,” Ford said.

The Sun Devils have made a name for themselves on the offensive side of the field this season, ranking second in the NCAA in slugging percentage (.633) and fourth in home runs per game (2.03).

This success has come thanks to depth in the ASU dugout. Cydney Sanders (.442) is one of six starters batting over .350 and has proven to be a big spark, leading the team with 14 home runs.

“Hitting is contagious around here,” Sanders said.

In only her freshman year at ASU, Sanders has made strides in the collegiate softball world, and was nominated, alongside teammate Yannira Acuna, by USA Softball as a Top 25 Collegiate Player of the Year finalist. Sanders’ performance against Utah also earned her a second National Freshman of the Week title from D1 Softball.

Although momentum has grown from the start of the season for players and coaches, Ford has maintained a cool head going into the Sun Devils’ series at Stanford.

“I just think we have a good rhythm on the field, and when you have a good rhythm, you tend to make great plays.”

Hogan Armstrong Hoe-gan Arm-str-aw-ng
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Hogan Armstrong expects to graduate in spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Armstrong, who was a research and development intern for Criminal Minded Media, is working for the Phoenix sports bureau.