March 14, 2013
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FULLERTON, Calif. - Mackenzie Popescue picked up Arizona State softball's first road victory of the season, shutting out Cal State Fullerton 9-0 on Thursday. In game two of the Judi Garman Classic, Dallas Escobedo led the Sun Devils to their first win against a ranked foe this year. ASU outlasted No. 9 Texas, 3-0 and improve to 27-1 riding a six-game winning streak.
Shutouts from Popescue and Escobedo gave Arizona State a pair of wins on opening day of the Judi Garman Classic. Host school Cal State Fullerton drops to 11-15 overall and No. 9 Texas falls to 23-4 on the season.
GAME 1: ASU 9, Cal State Fullerton 0
Mackenzie Popescue improves to 12-0 on the year with ASU's first win on the road a 9-0 shutout. The junior's spotless record is her best start to a season and just one win shy of her career best for a season, 13 victories in 2011.
Arizona State was first to strike, going ahead 1-0 on a sacrifice fly by Lucy Aubrecht to bring in Bethany Kemp in the second inning. The Sun Devils added another run to the tally when pinch runner Kayla Ketchum scored, unearned, following a Titan throwing error. Haley Steele came in next to make it 3-0, as Kemp got the sacrifice fly to lead ASU out of the third inning with two runs.
Alix Johnson smashed her seventh home run of the season during the fourth frame and in doing so extended the Sun Devil lead to 4-0. Cal State Fullerton made a pitching change in the fourth but it was to little avail as ASU continued to pad its lead.
Two runs came in on two RBI singles in the sixth, boosting Arizona State's lead to 6-0. Cheyenne Coyle plated Bailey Wigness from third for ASU's fifth run of the game and a single by Elizabeth Caporuscio gave the Devils the 6-0 advantage. With one out in the seventh, Johnson brought in two on a triple and then scored the ninth and eventual final run, 9-0, during Coyle's at-bat.
Popescue scattered nine strikeouts through seven innings of play, her new single-game career record. Cal State Fullerton's starting pitcher Desiree Ybarra took the loss, dropping her to 4-4.
Both Johnson and Coyle went 3-for-5 at the dish, Johnson had three RBI and two runs scored while Coyle put up two RBI and one run scored.
GAME 2: ASU 3, Texas 0
Both teams remained scoreless until Johnson doubled in the top of the fifth to score pinch runner Ketchum, 1-0, who was on base for Nikki Girard who reached via hit by pitch.
Dallas Escobedo and the defense did their part to diffusing all of the Texas threats. Escobedo held the Longhorns to three hits and retired 13 batters in her first outing of the Judi Garman Classic. The ace is now 14-1 while Texas' Blaire Luna falls to 11-1 despite striking out nine ASU batters in the loss.
Mary Spiel got in on the act, reaching base by way of walk in the sixth and then advancing to third on Kemp's double. Sam Parlich plated M. Spiel, 2-0, and Kemp followed across home in Girard's at-bat to make it 3-0. The Sun Devils hung on for their second shutout of the day through seven full frames, 3-0.
The win against ninth-ranked Texas is Arizona State's first win against a ranked team in 2013. ASU is now 1-1 against ranked opponents and will face No. 15 Michigan on Friday for their third Top 25 matchup of the season.
Arizona State will play No. 15 Michigan on Friday at 10 a.m., followed by Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. ASU will close out the road tournament with a 10 a.m. matchup against Pacific on Saturday.
After ASU's 4-0 win over Cal State Fullerton, the Sun Devils improve to 23-0 on the year when they are first to score. ASU bumped that to 24-0 after shutting out No. 9 Texas in Thursday's night cap.
Alix Johnson hit her seventh homer of the year against Cal State Fullerton. She now has 23 homers on the year, which is tied for 12th all-time at ASU.
Mackenzie Popescue shut out Cal State Fullerton and recorded a new single-game career record in strikeouts with nine. Her previous strikeout high for a game was eight, which she had recorded on two occasions.
Dallas Escobedo now has 75 career wins, just one shy of tying for fifth with Kirsten Voak's 76 career wins, set in 2002. Escobedo is 14-1 on the year. Escobedo's 13 strikeouts against Texas mark the seventh game this year the junior has retired double-digit batters in a game.
ASU's 3-0 win against No. 9 Texas is ASU's first win against a ranked opponent since beating No. 12 Oregon, 3-1, in the Women's College World Series on May 31, 2012.
The Sun Devils are on a six-game win streak, dating back to March 9 against Pittsburgh. In the last six games, four have been shutouts.