Feb. 28, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State softball preserved its undefeated record, now 17-0, after a high offense showing in Thursday's 15-7 mercy rule victory of North Dakota in five innings. The Sun Devils will play five additional games this weekend during the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational, starting Friday.
Things got hot quickly when freshman Nikki Girard hit her first home run, a grand slam in the first inning. In total, seven home runs were hit between both teams, Haley Steele with two of her own (five ASU). North Dakota falls to 2-5 with the loss and will meet back up against ASU on Friday at 7 p.m. MT.
Live Stats | Live Stats | Live Stats | Live Stats | Live Stats | Blaze Radio *A reminder to fans that games are subject to run late, start times are subject to change. MCC on the schedule page is Mesa Community College, address here and below.
Arizona State had a busy first inning to go up 5-0. Elizabeth Caporuscio singled in Alix Johnson for the first run, followed by Nikki Girard yanking a grand slam, her first long ball of her career, for the five run cushion.
North Dakota didn't take long to respond, however, Kenna Olsen homered in the top of the second to make it 5-1. ASU's Johnson led in the first pitch of the second with a home run to left center. With two outs and Caporuscio sitting on first from a North Dakota error, Haley Steele stroked her third home run of the year and gave the Sun Devils the 8-1 lead.
In the third, the Sun Devils loaded the bases yet again, forcing UND to bring in Emma Gronseth to pitch as starter Michelle Frank left the game. ASU scored three runs on two hits, 11-1, starting with an RBI walk from Amber Freeman and then a two-run double by Steele.
With ASU on its way to an early mercy rule, UND battled back from a 10-run deficit with a grand slam by D Jantzer in the top of the fifth. The Sun Devils had the 11-7 advantage going into the bottom of the fifth and would eventually make it a 15-7 mercy rule in five with just one out on the board.
Kayla Ketchum led off with a single and Freeman got a two-run bomb two batters later, making it 13-7. Mary Spiel followed up with her first career triple, ASU's second of the season. Steele wrapped the game up on her second homer of the contest, pushing the Sun Devils past the eight run advantage for a mercy rule, 15-7 in five.
Steele had a climatic night at the dish going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and six RBI. It was the first time in her career that she had notched multiple home runs in a single game.
ASU hosts its third home tournament, the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational. ASU will play Binghamton at 4:30 p.m. and North Dakota at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Girard's first homer of her career is a grand slam, ASU's 3rd of season. Katee Aguirre's first homer was also grand slam. Coyle w third one-- ASU Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 1, 2013
The Sun Devils are on a 17 game win streak to start the season and need just two more consecutive wins to tie the program's best start, 19-0, recorded in 2006.
This is the first time ASU hit five or more home runs in a game since 2011, when the record was first kept and ASU hit four homers on four occasions and on six occasions in 2012.
Nikki Girard hit her first home run of her career, a grand slam in the first inning.
ASU has three grand slams this season. Both Girard's (Feb. 28 vs. North Dakota) and Katee Aguirre's (Feb. 16 vs. UIC) first home runs of their collegiate careers game via grand slam. Cheyenne Coyle tag teamed with Aguirre and hit one the same inning against UIC.
Haley Steele hit two home runs in the game, a career first. She has 15 in her career, one shy of entering the Top 20 in the ASU career record book.
Amber Freeman is now tied for 15th in career home runs with 18, six this season.
Alix Johnson is 14th in career home runs with 19. She has three this season. She is tied for 17th in RBI with 95 in her career.
Clint Myers is hunting down a benchmark of his own, his 400th career Division I win. He has 394 entering the tournament and will use each victory earned this weekend to boost him closer to the milestone.