TEMPE After dropping three of its last four games in a span where offense had been a struggle, the No. 3 Arizona State University softball team was in need of a pick-me-up and that’s exactly what it got in a 16-2 rout over Detroit in fiving innings in the final game of the Louisville Slugger Invitational.
The Sun Devils had a season high 16 runs on 15 hits as it scored in all four innings at bat on the evening. Every player that had an at bat reached a base while 10 different players logged at least one base hit in the game.
ASU batted around the order in both the third and fourth innings en route to its highest run total since scoring 19 against Portland State on Feb. 23 of last season. The Sun Devils also posted their first three home runs of the entire weekend of competition in the contest, bring their season total to 32.
After logging a grand total of four runs in the teams three losses to South Carolina, Minnesota and Ball State, players stressed the importance of taking advantage of good pitches and putting the ball into the field of play and they did that early and often against the Titans (2-13).
Alix Johnson opened the game with a bunt single that was followed short by a Haley Steele walk. Cheyenne Coyle, batting in the four-hole for the first time this season, teed off on the first pitch she saw and set it to opposite right center field for her sixth home run of the season and an early 3-0 lead.
Detroit answered in the top of the second with a solo shot from Christa McGahuey the first given up by Mackenzie Popescue all season to cut the lead to 3-1.
ASU added another run in the bottom of the inning after Bailey Wigness scored on a Detroit throwing error at first base to put ASU up 4-1.
The Titans answered again with another run in the top of the third as Kayla Kostich brought home Sam Henderson to cut the lead back to two again at 4-2.
Unlike the first meeting with these two teams this past Thursday, that would be as close as Detroit would get as the Sun Devils turned it up to another level in the third inning.
Coyle led off the inning with a walk and came home from first on a Chelsea Gonzales double down the left field line. That brought up Bethany Kemp, who sent the first pitch she saw over the scoreboard in left field for her team leading seventh home run of the season.
Nikki Girard and Sashel Palacios reached on walks and advanced on a Bailey Wigness sacrifice bunt. Elizabeth Caporuscio brought the two runs home on a single to left to clear the bases and bring up Haley Steele, who logged the second home run over the left field scoreboard of the inning and her fifth of the season and ASU took a commanding 11-2 lead.
The team wasn’t done there however, batting around the order for the second consecutive inning in the fourth and doing so while allowing several players who haven’t seen a lot of action this season in the roation.
Nikki Girard reached following a Raianna Dobbs ground out but was thrown out for the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Sashel Palacios. With two outs on the board, the Devils went to work, however.
Bailey Wigness advanced Palacios to third after reached on an infield single and advancing on a Detroit throwing error.
That brought up redshirt freshman Mandi Grebe, who logged her first collegiate hit on a two-RBI double to left field to bring home Wigness and Palacios.
Back-to-back singles by Caporuscio and Steele brought up Abby Spiel, who advanced the runners on her first hit of the season a single down the middle to load the bases. ASU added two more runs in the inning after Katee Aguirre and Dobbs were both hit by pitches to bring home Caporuscio and Steele to round out the scoring.
Mackenzie Popescue (11-1) pitched three innings of solid softball, giving up three hits and two earned runs and just one walk. Jenn Makie came in in relief for Popescue in the fourth and fifth, retiring all six batters she faced with one strikeout.
The Sun Devils will now take on Longwood on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. MT for the final home game of the next two weeks as the team travels to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., this weekend before opening Pac-12 play in Corvallis, Ore., against Oregon State the following weekend.