Arizona State’s NCAA tournament regional opener ended in dramatic fashion Friday night, with Kristiana Watson blasting a home run late in the matchup to help the No. 8 seed avoid a stunning upset.
The Sun Devils trailed Cal State Fullerton 2-1 when Watson stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning. The redshirt freshman sent the ball flying over the wall for a grand slam, putting Arizona State up 5-2.
KRISTIANA WATSON HOW DO YOU DO?! 😱Watson launches a laser over the fence for a GRAND SLAM to put the Sun Devils back on top in the sixth inning.💻 @ESPNPlus#RoadToWCWS x 🎥 @ASUSoftball pic.twitter.com/OrMARKqZRt— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) May 21, 2022
KRISTIANA WATSON HOW DO YOU DO?! 😱Watson launches a laser over the fence for a GRAND SLAM to put the Sun Devils back on top in the sixth inning.💻 @ESPNPlus#RoadToWCWS x 🎥 @ASUSoftball pic.twitter.com/OrMARKqZRt
Emily Cazares and Mailey McLemore joined Watson as pinch hitters in the sixth frame, helping to propel the Sun Devils to their triumphant comeback.
“I was definitely looking for a specific pitch at the beginning,” said Watson of her mindset during her at-bat. “But in a three-two count, I was just trying to keep it simple and drive something hard.”
Following the Friday night victory, Arizona State moves onto its next regional matchup, taking on San Diego State on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.