CORVALLIS, Ore. – The No. 7/5 Arizona State University softball team fell to Oregon State, 3-2, in its 2014 Pac-12 Conference opener on Friday at the OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis, Ore.
The Sun Devils (26-4, 0-1 Pac-12) struggled to get hits in the clutch in the contest, stranding 11 batters throughout the afternoon. ASU’s inability to score runs would prove to be the team’s undoing, despite a solid effort from senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo.
Escobedo (11-3) racked up 15 strikeouts in the game, matching her career high for a regulation game and setting a new career-best for a six-inning performance.
The senior gave up three runs on five hits with two walks in the contest, however, and the Sun Devil offense couldn’t mount a rally after losing the lead to the Beavers (10-13, 1-0 Pac-12) in the bottom of the third.
ASU struck first in the game as Haley Steele brought Alix Johnson home with an RBI single in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead.
OSU wasted zero time responding as leadoff batter Kori Nishitomi sent a leadoff shot over the fence down the right field line to even things at one a piece through one inning.
The Sun Devils reclaimed the lead in the third inning as pinch hitter Sierra Rodriguez lined a RBI single into center field with the bases loaded to score Steele for the 2-1 lead.
The lead was short-lived though, as the Beavers responded on a two-RBI double by Alexis Gonzalez in the bottom half of the inning played Nishitomi and Amee Aarhus and gave OSU a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.
ASU loaded the bases against in the fourth inning with two outs on the board but a Elizabeth Caporuscio strikeout ended the last viable ASU threat as the nine of the next 10 Sun Devil batters were unable to reach a base.
The Sun Devils couldn’t solve Amanda Najdek (6-8) who pitched a complete seven inning game, giving up six hits, one earned run while walking four and striking out six.
ASU returns to the diamond tomorrow for the second game of the series, set to take place at 1 p.m. PT/MT.