FULLERTON, Calif. – The No. 10/7 Arizona State University softball team wanted to end its first weekend on the road with a statement and did so on Saturday with five-inning sweeps of San Jose State and Wisconsin on the team’s final day of the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
The Sun Devils jumped on SJSU early on their way to a 10-1 victory in five before taking care of business against the Badgers in a 9-1 rout to wrap up the weekend. ASU improved to 26-3 on the season after finishing the weekend 5-0 and went 7-0 since Monday with victories over Detroit and Longwood earlier in the week.
Dallas Escobedo was absolutely phenomenal at the Judi Garman classic, pitching two-one hitters against nationally ranked teams in a 2-0 victory over #5 Michigan and a 1-0 victory over No. 16 Nebraska. Escobedo gave up her first run in the last four games in the first inning to Wisconsin, but rebounded to pitch four solid innings to close the game out without another scratch.
Escobedo finished the weekend 3-0 with just five hits and one earned run allowed while pitching two complete game shutouts. She allowed an opponent batting average of just .079 in the three starts and struck out 25 batters while giving up zero walks.
Offensively, the Sun Devils had five home runs on the weekend and Amber Freeman led the way with two homers – including her first grand slam of the season – and seven RBI. Bailey Wigness was the most consistent hitter in the five games, finishing at .600 with a team-leading .667 on-base percentage and the game winning hit in extra innings against Nebraska.
The Sun Devils are officially finished with the tournament season and will open Pac-12 competition on the road next weekend with a three-game series in Corvallis against Oregon State beginning on Friday, March 14.
Complete recaps from the final two games of the Judi Garman Classic can be found below:
ASU 10, San Jose State 1
The Sun Devils opened the Saturday doubleheader at the “away” team for the first time this season and wasted no time taking advantage.
Alix Johnson led the game off with a walk to bring up freshman Chelsea Gonzales, who took the 1-0 pitch down the left field line and hooked it around the left field foul post for her fourth home run of the season and a 2-0 lead right of the gates.
The Sun Devils didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal in the second as Elizabeth Caporuscio, Katee Aguirre and Bailey Wigness all reached to bring up Johnson, who reached on an error in the Badger outfield and scoring Caporuscio.
Chelsea Gonzales walked to reload the bases and set up Haley Steele who cleared said bases with a double to the left center walk and a 7-0 lead.
The Sun Devils would add two more in the third as Caporuscio reached on a leadoff double and advanced on a Katee Aguirre single. Wigness would plate Caporuscio on a single to the short stop and Abby Spiel would score following that as a pinch runner of a Johnson single.
Johnson added the final run of the game for ASU with a solo shot to left for her fifth home run of the season and a commanding 10-0 lead.
Mackenzie Popescue was again solid for the Sun Devils as she got out of having runners on second and third in the bottom of the first inning and then proceeded to mow down nine of the next 11 batters to put up a shutout through four innings.
The Spartans would add a run in the fifth inning with Alexis Cooper in in relief but the damage was done and ASU picked up its 12th run-rule victory of the season. Popescue earned the victory and her team-leading 13th win of the season as she improved to 13-1 this season.
ASU 9, Wisconsin 1
The Sun Devils entered the final game of the weekend knowing it couldn’t take a solid Wisconsin team – a squad that defeated No. 7 Arizona just over 12 hours earlier and gave No. 6 Washington a run for its money – lightly.
After ASU went down in order to open the game, Dallas Escobedo gave up her first and only run of the weekend on solo shot by Mary Massei and it looked like the Sun Devils might have a test on their hands.
But the Sun Devils put away any doubts of that in the second innings, scoring six runs and putting the game away without any drama.
The first four ASU batters of the second inning all reached base without a hit as Haley Steele got on following an error by the Badger infield. Cheyenne Coyle earned a plate on a catcher’s interference call. Back-to-back walks by Elizabeth Caporuscio and Bethany Kemp loaded the bases and scored Steele and the Devils blew the game open from there.
Nikki Girard sent a hard double that bounced off the center field wall to score Coyle and Caporuscio. Bailey Wigness reached on a walk and Alix Johnson scored Kemp on a single down the right field line.
Amber Freeman then launched a two-RBI single to left to score Girard and Wigness and the Sun Devils found themselves in command with a 6-1 lead.
ASU went down harmlessly in the third and fourth but the bats came alive again in the fifth.
Caporuscio reached on a fielder’s choice and scored from first on a beautiful Bethany Kemp double to left field, bringing up Girard again.
The sophomore shook off her recent hitting woes with a monster blast to left field for the her second home run of the season and her third and fourth RBI of the ball game, giving ASU the decisive 9-1 lead.
After allowing the home run in the first, Escobedo pitched another gem, striking out six and allowing just two other hits. Wisconsin challenged again in the fourth as the Badgers put runners on second and third with no outs but Escobedo drew two ground outs to get out of the inning safely.
Back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to end the game gave Escobedo her 11th win of the season and capped of a masterful week of pitching for the junior.