March 1, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. - With a pair of wins on Friday, Arizona State softball tied its program best start of 19-0. The Sun Devils mercy ruled Binghamton 9-1 (5) in game one and followed up with a no-hitter by Mackenzie Popescue, 8-0 (5), against North Dakota.
Alexis Cooper got her first collegiate win in ASU's 9-1 mercy rule of Binghamton (1-5). Cooper went the distance in 5.0 innings and threw three strikeouts along the way. ASU's pitching was superb in game two as well; Mackenzie Popescue pitched the program's 24th no-hitter as North Dakota falls to 2-7 with the loss.
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*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.
We face East Carolina at 4:30 p.m. and North Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday. @blaze_sports on the air for both.-- ASU Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 2, 2013
GAME ONE: ASU 9, Binghamton 1 (5)
In the first, ASU picked up a 3-0 lead with extended life on a Bearcats miscue after two outs already down. Cheyenne Coyle crossed home plate for the first run during Nikki Girard's at-bat. Amber Freeman then scored on a Sam Parlich single followed by Girard being plated by Mary Spiel's single to left.
Coyle notched her first double of the season in the second, which brought in Alix Johnson. An additional two runs scored in the frame, extending ASU's cushion to 6-0. Girard scored Coyle on a groundout and Lucy Aubrecht hit in pinch runner Abby Spiel.
Alexis Cooper's shutout was broken up in the bottom of the second, 6-1, as Binghamton put up a run from Savonna Connolly. Cooper fared well in her first collegiate start, retiring three Bearcats on her way to her first victory.
The number three had plenty of occurrences for the Sun Devils, who scored three runs for the third time during the game, this time during the third inning. For a 9-1 lead, M. Spiel, Bailey Wigness and Johnson all scored on three different hits. Through three frames, each starter in ASU's lineup had reached base at least once.
ASU held its 9-1 lead for what would be a five-run mercy rule, its eighth early win of the season. Rhoda Marsteller garnered the loss, dropping her to 0-2 after just one inning pitched. Kate Price closed the game for Binghamton, striking out one in the appearance.
GAME TWO: ASU 8, North Dakota 0 (5)
The Sun Devils picked up eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the first inning for one of their most productive starts of the year. The first six batters in the ASU lineup scored and the Devils continued to roll another time through the lineup after a UND pitching change for two more runs, 8-0.
Mackenzie Popescue was in the circle for ASU and moves up in the win column now at 8-0 after the 8-0 mercy rule no-hitter. This is the junior's second no-hitter of her career and the 24th for ASU softball.
North Dakota was unable to get a hit off Popescue, who fanned four. UND did keep ASU off the bases however, only allowing the damage from the first inning for the remainder of the contest. Abby Jo Tometich is 0-3 with UND's loss.
Top hitter for the Sun Devils was Girard who was 2-for-2 with one run and one RBI.
ASU will play East Carolina at 4:30 p.m. and North Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Sun Devils close out the tournament against No. 22 Baylor at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
Alexis Cooper made her first collegiate start in Friday's game against Binghamton. She is 1-0 on the year and has come in for relief three times.
Mackenzie Popescue picked up her second no-hitter of her career. Her first was March 1, 2012 against Wichita State.
The Sun Devils are on a 19 game win streak to start the season and have tied the program's best start, 19-0, recorded in 2006.
Clint Myers is hunting down a benchmark of his own, his 400th career Division I win. He has 396 entering the tournament and will use each victory earned this weekend to boost him closer to the milestone.