The spring athletic season is bringing with it a tremendous amount of successful Sun Devil sporting action, as 10 ASU teams were in competition over this weekend.
Among the highlights were new school records on the track, dominance on the mound and an undefeated streak in the pool culminating in a tournament title. Oh, and one of ASU's most famous alums posted a milestone victory on the links.
Here is a complete rundown of the weekend's athletic results.
The defending national champions kicked off their season this past Thursday by hosting the Kajikawa Classic here in Tempe. The opening day of the tournament went smoothly for the Devils, as they blanked both Western Michigan and San Jose State, 10-0 and 6-0 respectively. Starting picthers Mackenzie Popescue and Hillary Bach combined to surrender just five total hits.
Friday saw the Devils suffer a rare loss, as McNeese State pitcher Tiffany Denham tossed seven strong innings as the Cowboys topped the Devils 3-1. The losing streak ended at one in the next game against Northwestern, as star pitcher Dallas Escobedo struck out 14 in the 10-5 win.
Saturday saw another split of the day's games. Bach was again brilliant, posting a five inning shutout win over Texas State. However, the Devils' bats were silenced against No. 9 Tennessee, with Ellen Renfroe threw seven scoreless innings for the win.
The Lady Devils finished the weekend strong, with Bach again dominant in posting another shutout win, this time 8-0 over Cal Poly. In her three starts over the tournament, Bach was 3-0 with 17 strikeouts and a flawless 0.00 ERA. Opponents were helpless against her, batting just .123.
The domination in the pool continues for the Arizona State water polo team. The No. 5 team in the country took part in the Triton Invitational this weekend and swept their four matches, culminating in an 8-4 win in the finals over UC Irvine. For a detailed run down of the tournament action for ASU, click here.
After a 4-0 start, the gymnastics team lost a heartbreaker to Arizona on Friday, but looked to rebound on Sunday as they faced the top team in the nation in Utah.
Great performances by Natasha Sundby on the floor, Beate Jones on the vault and Brianna Gades on the bars were not enough to topple the top ranked Utes, as Utah emerged with a 196.15 to 194.0 win.
Swim and Dive
It was Senior Day for the men's and women's swim and dive teams, but sadly the teams could not get past the rival Arizona Wildcats.
The fortunes were best for ASU on the diving board, as the Devils won each event there. Despite some victories by Cassie Morrice and Tristin Baxter, the swim team came up just short.
The women fell to the Wildcats 170-114 and the men lost 188.5-109.5
The Sun Devils' issues with turnovers and shooting doomed the team once again, as they fell to Colorado. ASU shot just 35.8% and committed 18 turnovers in the 63-49 loss that dropped the Sun Devils to 8-17 on the season.
Read House of Sparky's Nikil Selvam's full recap here.
The hardwood fortunes were much better for the women as they also faced Colorado.
Janae Fulcher had 16 points and Alex Earl added 14 to lead ASU to the gritty 60-47 win. Despite only shooting 40%, the Sun Devils defense held the Buffaloes to just a 36.4% mark, including a paltry 14.3% from beyond the arc.
The Devils improved to 16-8 on the year.
Track and Field
With two events taking place concurrently over the weekend, the Sun Devil men's and women's track teams each had a presence at both the Husky Invitational in Seattle and the Boise Team Challenge in Idaho.
Both the No. 21 women's and the No. 24 men's teams did very well. Among the highlights were Shelby Houlihan setting the school record for the indoor mile with a blistering 4:41.26 mark, Jordan Clarke winning the shot put and Kayla Sanchez winning the 400-meter dash.
Full results can be found here.
It's worth mentioning that ASU golf's favorite son, Phil Mickleson, shot -17 under to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Lefty's 40th career PGA Tour win nets him a nice $1,152,000.
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