TEMPE – The No. 11 Arizona State University softball team (29-5, 3-2 Pac-12) defeated No. 24 Stanford (23-10, 1-4 Pac-12), 9-0, in five innings in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday night.
In a much different affair than last night’s 16-15, nine-inning barnburner that lasted a whopping four hours and ten minutes, Sunday’s contest took just over an hour and a half and – also unlike last night - the result was never truly in question in front of an announced crowd of 1,694 at Farrington Stadium.
The Sun Devils had three home runs in the contest to help out senior pitcher Mackenzie Popescue, who pitched five scoreless innings and picked up her team-leading 15th victory this season. Popescue gave up two hits and four walks with three strikeouts and improved to 15-1 on the season and 2-0 in Pac-12 action.
“We knew it was going to be another good game,” senior Cheyenne Coyle said after the game. “I just think our pitching staff did a really good job of shutting them down today and our hitters continued hitting.”
The Sun Devil offense put together its second impressive performance in as many days, putting together a seven-run third inning that blew open the gates in the contest. ASU has 25 runs in two games against the Cardinal in the current series.
“We’ve got some of the best hitting in the country, so it definitely takes some of the pressure off of me,” Popescue said.
Amber Freeman went 2-for-2 on the night with three RBI and a two-run home run, in the third that helped open up the game. The junior catcher is now batting .456 on the season with five home runs and 27 RBI and an impressive .528 on-base percentage.
Coyle and first baseman Bethany Kemp also hit home runs in the game, their eighth and ninth of the season, respectively.
“I really wanted a good pitch that I could drive,” Coyle said. “It didn’t matter if it was in or out. I just wanted a good pitch I could elevate.”
Junior Elizabeth Caporuscio went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored while her double was her team-leading 12th of the season.
Haley Steele got the Sun Devils going early with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to bring home Alix Johnson and an early 1-0 lead. It was Steele’s 34th RBI of the season, seven more than any of her Sun Devil teammates.
Kemp expanded the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the second with her solo shot to left and a team-leading ninth home run this season – notable as it matched her total from the entirety of last year.
The bats really came alive in the third as Bailey Wigness singled to lead off the inning to set up Freeman’s jack to open the lead up to 4-0.
After Steele singled on the following at-bat, Coyle sent a bomb to left field that about hit the gymnastics building over 50 feet behind the left field foul post to put ASU up 6-0.
The scoring didn’t stop there as Kemp would walk and advance to third on Caporuscio’s double, scoring on a Chelsea Gonzales sacrifice fly. Caporuscio would come around on a Alix Johnson sacrifice fly while pinch hitter Sierra Rodriguez would also come home in the inning on a Freeman single as the Sun Devils batted well around the order.
That capped the scoring at 9-0 and after a hitless fourth and fifth inning for the Cardinal, the game ended with ASU’s 15 run-rule victory this year and the Sun Devils won their first Pac-12 series of the season.
ASU will take on Stanford in the final game of the series on Monday night at 4 p.m. PT/MT at Farrington Stadium. The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks.