BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 7/6 Arizona State University softball team hit four solo home runs early and closed things out with a six-run fifth inning the complete the Pac-12 sweep over Cal Softball, winning by a score of 10-0 in five innings on Sunday in Berkeley, Calif.
It was the second Pac-12 sweep of the season for the Sun Devils (35-6, 9-3 Pac-12) after picking one up earlier this year against Cal’s Bay Area counterpart, Stanford, in Tempe. Since dropping two of three in the Pac-12 opening series against Oregon State, ASU has won eight of its last nine games.
Amber Freeman led the way with two homers for the Sun Devils, putting ASU on the board in the first inning with a two-out laser over the left field fence for her first home run of the game and an early 1-0.
In the top of the second, Bethany Kemp launched a towering bomb into the grandstands beyond left field for her team-leading 11th home run of the season to put the Sun Devils up 2-0.
The bats kept flying in the top of the third as Alix Johnson launched an opposite field bomb over the fence in left for ASU’s third homer of the game and two batters later, Freeman gave some love to the grass beyond the right field fence with another opposite field homer for her second of the game and a 4-0.
ASU didn’t even have its first base runner until a Haley Steele single on the ensuing at bat, with all four ASU hits coming on solo home runs up until that point.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Sun Devils put the pedal to the medal in the fifth with Cheyenne Coyle getting the party started with a stand-up double over the center fielders head to leadoff the inning.
Freeman drew a walk before Elizabeth Caporuscio brought home Coyle with an RBI single to left field. Kemp would then load the bases with a single to shallow center to bring up freshman Chelsea Gonzales, who had Cal alive all weekend with the bases loaded and continued that on Sunday.
The freshman sent a long fly ball down the left field that bounced off the top of the fence and brought home pinch runner Abby Spiel and to give ASU a 7-0 lead. That brought Gonzales’ numbers on the weekend to 3-for-4 with the bases loaded with seven RBI.
Before they could even show a highlight of Gonzales hit on the Pac-12 Networks, Nikki Girard came to the plate and launched a stand-up double to the gap in right to bring home Kemp and Gonzales and give ASU a 9-0 lead.
Bailey Wigness singled up the center to bring Girard home and to cap out the scoring at 10-0 and putting the game in Dallas Escobedo’s capable hands to close out.
Escobedo was exceptional yet again the circle, pitching her team-leading ninth shutout of the season as she gave up just three hits while walking two. The senior struck out 10 Cal batters despite the shortened game, making it the fourth consecutive game she has eclipsed double-digit strikeouts. She now has 1,114 strikeouts in her career and is now 56th in NCAA history in the category.
The Sun Devils will return home next weekend to continue the Pac-12 slate with a three-game series against Utah beginning Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. PT/MT at Farrington Stadium in Tempe.