March 15, 2013
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FULLERTON, Calif. - Arizona State (28-2) softball suffered its second loss of the year, 5-4 to No. 15 Michigan. Active Sun Devil bats and spot-on pitching by Mackenzie Popescue shut out Virginia Tech, 11-0, to cap play on Friday.
Despite out-hitting Michigan 14 hits to their five, the Sun Devils were unable to muster a comeback after the Wolverine (19-7) regained the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning.
ASU turned it around against the Hokies, hitting explosively for five runs in the fifth and four in the seventh inning before extending its lead to 11-0 for Mackenzie Popescue's two-hit victory against Virginia Tech (17-3).
GAME 1: Michigan 5, ASU 4
Bethany Kemp broke the silence of the scoreless tie in the bottom of the second inning, roping a solo home run to left. It did not take long for the Wolverines to respond though, Ashley Lane knocked a two-run homer to center in the top of the fourth to give U-M a 2-1 lead.
In a two out rally during the bottom of the fourth, Arizona State scored two runs on a bases-loaded single by Amber Freeman. Haley Steele made it a 4-2 advantage with a base hit to left center that plated Freeman.
Michigan elected to bring in Sara Driesenga for Haylie Wagner in the circle to pick up the final out of the fourth. Driesenga garnered the win in relief, pushing her to 15-5, and Wagner picked up the save after re-entering in the seventh inning.
The gap closed to 4-3 in the top of the fifth when a single to center by U-M's Nicole Sappinfield scored Jaclyn Crummey from second base. ASU look poised for a comeback, leading the fifth off with back-to-back singles and loaded the bases with a third hit, but went down via strikeout and groundout before bringing any runners home.
The Wolverines once again regained the lead, 5-4, in the sixth inning. A Sun Devil error allowed Sierra Lawrence to reach base and then move around to second and push a runner to third. Amy Knapp's single up the middle gave Michigan the 5-4 advantage as Lawrence and Lane scored on the hit.
ASU was unable to rally a comeback, falling for just the second time this year, 5-4. Dallas Escobedo is now 14-2 on the year, taking the loss in a 10-strikeout performance. The Sun Devils were led at the plate by Parlich (4-for-4), Steele (3-for-4) and Kemp's home run in the second.
We are 28-2 on the year and with our win today, Popescue is 13-0 with a 0.76 ERA, which ranks 9th in @ncaasoftball— ASU Softball (@ASUSoftball) March 16, 2013
GAME 2: ASU 11, Virginia Tech 0
The Sun Devils got their second game started in the same fashion as their matchup against Michigan, a solo home run. Steele recorded her fifth homer of the season in a solo shot to left in the top of the fourth inning. To that point, both teams were scoreless until ASU busted it open with five runs on five hits in the fourth.
After Steele's glow ball, Lucy Aubrecht responded to a Hokie pitching change with a two-RBI double to left center that gave ASU a 3-0 lead with Sam Parlich and Mary Spiel crossing home. Alix Johnson and Cheyenne Coyle then came up with back-to-back RBI hits for ASU's fourth and fifth runs as Abby Spiel and Bailey Wigness scored, respectively.
In the fifth, Arizona State extended its cushion to 7-0 using a pair of groundouts to score Steele and M. Spiel. The Sun Devils picked up four final runs in the seventh for the 11-0 edge.
Mackenzie Popescue closed down the Hokies in the final frame and continues her win streak, 13-0, tying her season-best win record set in 2011. Popescue struck out one Hokie and the two-hit shutout in seven innings pitched has her at a team-best 0.76 ERA. Jasmin Harrell (8-1) was the starting pitcher for VT and takes the loss after 3.1 innings of work.
ASU will finish off the Judi Garman Classic with a 10 a.m. matchup against Pacific on Saturday.
Bethany Kemp's home run against No. 15 Michigan was her fourth of the season.
Sam Parlich went 4-for-4 against No. 15 Michigan, a new single game career high in hits for the senior. Her previous high of three hits in a game she had done on seven occasions.
This is the fourth time Haley Steele has recorded three hits in a single game (most recent, 3 vs. Michigan).
Dallas Escobedo improves her double-digit strikeout mark to eight games after retiring 10 Michigan hitters. She has thrown 10+ in three of her last four appearances (15 vs. Pitt March 9; 13 vs. Texas March 14; 10 vs. Michigan March 15).
Steele's homer against Virginia Tech is her fifth of the season and 16th of her career. She now ties for 20th all-time at ASU in home runs.
As a team, the Sun Devils have hit home runs in seven of their last eight games (excluding against Texas). For the season, they have hit home runs in 24 of 30 games.
Mackenzie Popescue is 13-0 on the year, tying her season best of 13 wins that she set in 2011 (13-3).
ASU's 16 hits against Virginia Tech is the second most for the team this season. The Sun Devils put up 17 hits against Boise State on Feb. 10 in a 10-0 (6) win.
ASU is 1-2 against ranked teams in 2013. The first loss was No. 22 Baylor, 6-2, March 3, second loss to No. 15 Michigan, March 15. First win was No. 9 Texas, 3-0, March 14.
About Virginia Tech: The Hokies are not ranked in the NFCA poll, but are No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll. VT has beaten each Top 25 team it has faced prior to ASU, including: No. 9 UCLA (2-1), No. 14 Arizona (9-2) and No. 15 Michigan (3-2).