ASU Softball Season Preview: The Pitchers and Catchers

Pitcher Dallas Escobedo - Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

We begin our season preview of Sun Devils softball with this look at the battery.

As spring approaches, the Arizona State University softball team has their sight set on another successful season. This young squad has a great deal of potential, talent and drive - the ideal recipe for a postseason run.

"Our goal is always to go to Oklahoma City and win the last game because only one team does that each year," says starting catcher, Amber Freeman. "We also want to be Pac-12 champs as well."

The Sun Devils begin their "Road to Oklahoma City" this Thursday against New Mexico and with their first game around the corner, it's time to get to know your 2013 Arizona State University softball team.

The Battery

The Pitching Staff

None other than junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo leads the team on the mound in 2013 after a phenomenal 2012 season. With a 24-8 record and a 2.32 ERA in 211.0 innings, as well as her first no hitter, last year's performance put Escobedo on the USA Softball Top 50 Player of the Year Watch List for a second consecutive season.

We also find Mackenzie Popescue (junior) coming off of a milestone season of her own. Popescue threw 51.2 innings, her first personal no hitter against Wichita State last March, and ended the season with an ERA of 2.30.

Jenna Makis (redshirt) and Alexis Cooper are two freshmen contributing to Arizona State's already premier pitching staff. After setting a multitude of records at her alma mater, Pinnacle High School, Makis adds an always necessary, youthful spunk to an already dominant group on the mound. Cooper was Sheldon High School's four-year starter and has been recognized by "ESPN Rise" on two occasions.

Two freshmen pitchers with numerous accolades act as nothing but an advantage for the Sun Devils, simply due to the fact that opposing teams have yet to face Makis or Cooper.

Catchers

Talk about a force at the plate, and one name comes to mind: Amber Freeman.

Freeman is the Sun Devils' returning catcher who has already made a name for herself throughout the NCAA. Last year, Freeman put up unbelievable numbers during regular season and postseason play. A .346 batting average, 53 hits, 41 RBI, and a team-high .370 postseason batting average earned her a spot in the USA Softball Top 50 Player of the Year Watch List alongside teammates, Escobedo and outfielder Alix Johnson.

"My goal for each new season is to come back a better player," says Freeman. "I am hoping that this year is my All-American year. I am hoping to become more of a leader this year, by using my experience from last year. My goal is to just be better."

Junior Lucy Aubrecht spent the 2012 season as Arizona State's number two catcher behind Freeman. Aubrecht made a significant contribution to the Sun Devils' offense in 2012: .400 slugging percentage, .351 on base percentage, and 15 RBI. One thing that these ladies certainly don't lack in is offensive ability.

Two new faces join the Sun Devils' behind the plate in 2013: Parris Kurszewski and Katee Aguirre. Kurszewski was recognized as a Second-Team All-Conference player during her senior year at Stevens Point Area Senior High and Aguirre batted .279 in her final year at Rancho Cucamonga High School.

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