TEMPE – The No. 4 Arizona State University softball team finished up their third home tournament in as many weeks with a doubleheader sweep over Drake and Idaho State to close out the 2014 Diamond Devil Invitational.
ASU didn’t need seven inning for either team, knocking off the Bulldogs in six with a 9-1 victory before putting up a season-high 13 runs against the Bengals in five-inning 13-1 win.
With the effort, the Sun Devils improved to 17-0 on the season after outscoring their opposition 56-7 over the course of the six games in four days while giving up just three earned runs in that process.
The dynamic duo of Dallas Escobedo and Mackenize Popescue again remained exceptional as Escobedo gave up zero earned runs in 14 innings pitched on the weekend – striking out 26 in the process to just two walks. Popescue had an ERA of just 0.70 with two victories. Alexis Cooper also picked up her first two wins of the seasons as she allowed a team low opponent batting average of .125 in her two appearances.
The Sun Devil bats came alive on the weekend as the team combined for 14 long balls in the six games played – notable after the team entered the weekend with 15 home runs on the season.
Alix Johnson led the way with three home runs on the weekend – including a grand slam in the final game – while Jenn Soria, Cheyenne Coyle Chelsea Gonzales and Katee Aguirre each had two on the weekend.
Amber Freeman was phenomenal at the plate, finishing the weekend with 11 hits on 15 at bats for a whopping .733 batting average. Soria led the way with nine RBI for the Sun Devils.
Up next, the Sun Devils will take on Detroit on Thursday at Farrington Stadium at 5 p.m. MT in the first game in the Louisville Slugger Invitational.
ASU 13, Idaho State 4
In their final game of the 2014 Diamond Devil Invitational, the No. 4 Arizona State University softball team (17-0) run-ruled the Idaho State Bengals (6-5) for the second time in 24 hours with a 13-4 victory at Farrington Stadium on Sunday.
It did not take long for the Sun Devils to put runs up on the board as the lead off hitter, outfielder Jennifer Soria scored from second on an RBI single from Amber Freeman in the bottom of the first. Outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio added another on a RBI double up the first base line, scoring outfielder Alix Johnson. The Sun Devils weren’t done there as first baseman Bethany Kemp hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring third baseman Haley Steele to give ASU a 3-0 lead after one.
In the second inning, the Sun Devils did not take their foot off the gas, putting up another nine runs – the highest single inning tally of the season. It began as the first three batters of the inning; second basemen Nikki Girard, right fielder Bailey Wigness, and Soria, managed to load the bases. Johnson then approached the plate and took full count pitch over the right field fence for the grand slam and her third home run of the weekend.
With two outs in the same inning, Freeman scored with Girard at the plate, on a wild pitch. Girard then walked, loading the bases and Wigness – in her second at bat of the inning – singled over the shortstop scoring Steele.
Soria then stepped up for her second at-bat of the frame, driving a bases-clearing double to wall scoring Kemp, Girard and Wigness for the final three runs of the inning and giving ASU a 12-0 lead heading into the top of the third.
After a couple defense miscues in the third inning, the Sun Devils gave up four runs but added a run of their own in the bottom half the inning when Chelsea Gonzalez drove in catcher Sashel Palacios on an RBI single for the final run of the game.
In circle for the Sun Devils it was a joint effort as ace Dallas Escobedo only gave up one hit in two innings of work. In relief Alexis Cooper pitched the final three innings allowing the Bengals just one earned run and picking up the victory after going three innings of solid relief work.
ASU 9, Drake 1
In their second matchup against the Drake in four days, the No. 4 Sun Devils (16-0) run-ruled the Bulldogs (2-13) in six innings in a 9-1 effort.
The offense scored in bunches with the first runs coming in the second inning as second baseman Chelsea Gonzales hit a two-run homer – her second of the weekend – to score herself and outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio as ASU took an early 2-0 lead.
After being held scoreless in the third and fourth innings, the Sun Devil offense woke up in the fifth with a five-run inning. The first run came off a single from designated hitter Amber Freeman, scoring shortstop Cheyenne Coyle. Haley Steele then followed up with an RBI single of her own to score outfielder Alix Johnson. With two outs, catcher Katee Aguirre hit a three-run shot over the left-center field fence to score Caporuscio and Steele.
In the sixth inning, the Sun Devils put up their final two runs, the first on a sacrifice fly by Johnson that scored outfielder Bailey Wigness. Then, to end the game, Coyle scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Freeman.
Pitcher Mackenzie Popescue moved to 8-0 on the season, surrendering only one run in the game. She was backed up well by the Sun Devil defense, as they did not yield a single error. Popescue went the six-inning distance and gave up just four hits and one walk with three strikeouts.