Feb. 16, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. - Grand Slams were only a portion of the show Arizona State softball (11-0) put on Saturday night. The Sun Devils used heavy hitting to fuel past Illinois Chicago 15-0 in five innings. Against Illinois State, ASU's 11 hits and Dallas Escobedo's 14 strikeouts aided a 7-1 victory.
Arizona State hammered past UIC (0-9) in the opening game of the double header, 15-0 in five innings. The Sun Devils hit two grand slams (by Coyle and Aguirre) in the fifth inning, a feat ASU also accomplished on April 20 of last year against 16th-ranked Stanford.
Illinois State suffered a loss to ASU as well, 7-1. Alix Johnson led the batters, going 3-for-4 with one run scored and three RBI. She finishes the game on a three-game hitting streak. Escobedo picked up her seventh win after fanning 14, just one shy of her season best.
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GAME ONE: No. 3 ASU 15, UIC 0 (5)
ASU was determined in the first frame, sending Amber Freeman home from second on a single to left center by Elizabeth Caporuscio. The Sun Devils stretched their 1-0 lead in the second on a bases loaded, two-out rally by way of three walks. Cheyenne Coyle made it a fourth free ride, plating pinch runner Abby Spiel, 2-0. Bailey Wigness and Johnson capitalized on a Flames error to score, unearned, before the final out to make it a 4-0 advantage.
Another spurt of three runs were scored, to go up 7-0, this time in the fourth for the Sun Devils. In one of the best stat lines of the season, Arizona State went on to score eight runs, on two grand slams and four hits in the fifth.
In her third at-bat of her career, Katee Aguirre cranked a grand slam as a pinch hitter just three batters after Cheyenne Coyle let a grand slam leave the park. With a lead of 15-0, the Sun Devils kept the Flames off the board in the bottom of the fifth en route to picking up the mercy rule in five.
Mackenzie Popescue pitched four complete innings, striking out five in her fourth win of the year. In her second appearance in the circle, Alexis Cooper closed the final inning and struck out one along the way. UIC's Devin Miller received the loss and drops to 0-5.
Eight Sun Devils came off the bench for the game. Three recorded hits and two scored runs.
GAME TWO: No. 3 ASU 7, Illinois State 1
The second inning was the beginning of Illinois State's frustrations - ASU led off with two hits and Nikki Girard scored the first run during Bethany Kemp's at bat. Sam Parlich followed right after with an RBI to score Haley Steele. Kemp, Wigness and Johnson all crossed home to put the game at 5-0.
Johnson's homer in the second is her second this year and 18th of her career. She would go on to finish the game with three hits, three RBI and one run.
ISU didn't go away however, Jhavon Hamilton scored in the top of the third on a Dallas Escobedo wild pitch.
The Sun Devils posted back-to-back homers in the third, 7-1, off the bats of Steele and Kemp to keep the momentum in favor of ASU. Aside from the stray run, Escobedo (7-0) went through 14 batters, one shy of her season best in strikeouts.
Tickets are still available for Sunday's game against Minnesota. Buy at the stadium, call 480-727-0000 or order here thesundevils.com/tickets/ticket...-- ASU Softball (@ASUSoftball) February 17, 2013
Softball will finish the weekend with a 1:15 game against the Minnesota Gophers on Sunday.
ASU had two grand slams in the fifth inning against UIC, one from Cheyenne Coyle and another from freshman Katee Aguirre. Aguirre's homer is her first in just her third at-bat of her career. This is the first grand slam for both.
The last time ASU had two grand slams in a single inning was April 20, 2012 at home against No. 16 Stanford. The Sun Devils won the game 11-9.
Katee Aguirre is hitting .667 on the year. She has appeared in three games as a pinch hitter this year and had a hit in two of the outings. First career hit was a double against Boise State (Feb. 10) and her second was a grand slam against UIC (Feb. 16).
Alix Johnson is tied for 13th in career home runs with 18. She is also 17th in RBI (94) and 19th in doubles (22).
Elizabeth Caporuscio is tied for 16th in career home runs with 17.
Amber Freeman is tied for 19th in career home runs with 16.
As a pitching staff ASU has a 0.68 ERA, allowing just seven earned runs. ASU is out-hitting opponents 101-38, and for runs 81-8.
**Correction to release on Feb. 16, Aguirre was previously stated to have just two at-bats at the time of her grand slam. She also had an at-bat against Western Michigan on Feb. 9. She is 2-for-3 at the plate with one double, one grand slam.