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Arizona softball loses to ASU by run rule

Giulia Koutsoyanopulos
Photo by Simon Asher / Arizona Athletics

Sophomore pitcher Devyn Netz has been successful in getting the first two outs of an inning this season. She’s just having problems getting the last one. In her last three games, Netz has given up 17 runs. Twelve have come with two outs.

The pattern continued as Arizona dropped its second game of the weekend by a score of 11-0 to ASU in five innings. The run-rule defeat guarantees another losing series for the Wildcats who now stand at 0-5 in Pac-12 play.

Netz gave up seven runs in 4.2 innings, all with two outs. Six of them came via three-run home runs. It dropped her to 8-4 on the season.

“I can’t really put my finger on it,” head coach Caitlin Lowe said. “I think (the Sun Devils) just had at-bats where they grinded, and I think we could do a better job of that too. But you know, she knows that she’s gonna make better pitches the next time and that’s the thing. It’s like, yeah, they got on her today but what are we going to do tomorrow?”

Freshman Madi Elish relieved Netz in the top of the fourth. She allowed two more home runs, tacking on four more runs.

The Arizona offense was stalled from the beginning. The Wildcats managed just two hits and had a baserunner reach on an error.

While the pitching and hitting didn’t work for Arizona, the defense tried to keep them in the game. The Wildcats turned two double plays. They also got another solid game from Giulia Koutsoyanopulos in centerfield.

The sophomore, who has spent most of her time as a Wildcat as a defensive replacement at first base, has taken over the centerfield while Janelle Meono is out nursing a stress fracture in her foot. While Koutsoyanopulos has some limited experience in the outfield, it’s not the position she’s used to.

“It was a little uncomfortable at first, but I’m getting more comfortable as we keep playing,” Koutsoyanopulos said.

Koutsoyanopulos showed it in the top of the third when she made a diving catch, but the most difficult part of the new role for the converted infielder is learning how to communicate over the large space in the outfield.

Meono has helped her get through it.

“She’s probably my biggest fan,” Koutsoyanopulos said. “She’s super sweet. I’m really thankful to have her and I look up to her for that position. And I asked her a lot of questions.”

That’s the kind of leadership that Lowe wants to see in her players.

“I think the right people need to step up because I know a lot of people care deeply about where this team goes,” Lowe said. “And I think if they all knew how much each other cared, which is what we’re finally starting to see when people use their voice and they show that part of themselves that’s a little bit vulnerable.”