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ASU Softball: Sun Devils sweep double-header, improve to 6-0 in 2014

Arizona State outlasted its competition in all six games of the Kajikawa Classic this weekend.

Sun Devil Athletics

Tempe, Ariz.--Arizona State 7, Fresno State 0

By Taylor Cohan

The Sun Devil softball team got off to a fast start in today's double-header and didn't look back. Dallas Escobedo was her usual self in this morning's matchup and dished out 10 strikeouts en route to a dominant, 7-0, shutout victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Escobedo only gave up two hits all day, not allowing a ball to be hit out of the infield until the seventh inning. The Sun Devil pitcher admits it's easier when her offense puts runs on the board early.

"Just focusing in ad taking care of business, and when they do have runs on the board, I can relax a little bit," Escobedo said.

Of course Escobedo had some help from fellow senior Cheyenne Coyle who had another great outing today at the plate, going 3-6 on the day (2-3 vs. Fresno State), including a solo home run in the sixth inning to seal the win for the Devils in their first game.

Coyle said the Sun Devils are always eager to start fast and says the team is motivated to take an early lead over their opponents.

"I think we tend to do that sometimes," Coyle said. "Especially if they score first, we like to fire back really fast."

The Sun Devil offense gave Escobedo an early cushion, scoring four runs in the second inning, and two more in the third to make it 6-0 going into the fourth before Coyle scored the seventh run on her home run.

Coyle wasn't the only Sun Devil having a good day at the plate, as junior left fielder Elizabeth Caporuscio extended her streak today to five consecutive games with a hit. She'll look to extend that streak next weekend as she took the afternoon game off.

All of the Sun Devils contributed to the dominant offensive attack, with every starter reaching base at least once in this morning's game and that momentum carried over into the second game.

Tempe, Ariz.--Arizona State 11, UC Riverside 1

By Kerry Crowley

After making quick work of Fresno State on Sunday morning, the Sun Devils turned the trick on UC Riverside in the afternoon half of the double-header.

Mackenzie Popescue threw a five-inning complete game as Arizona State trounced UC Riverside in an 11-1 final.

The Sun Devils took advantage of Highlander starting pitcher Ashley Ercolano in the first inning as the first three Arizona State batters reached base. With the bases loaded, Sun Devil third baseman Haley Steele cracked a grand slam over the left-center field fence to put the Sun Devils up 4-0.

Steele's grand slam helped her out of a season-opening slump and in her next at-bat, she knocked a two-out, two-run single up the middle to increase the lead to 6-0.

In the third inning, Arizona State used heads-up base running from Jennifer Soria and Bailey Wigness to tack on two more runs before the Highlanders got on the board for the first time off of a Nikki Gerard throwing error.

Up 8-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Sun Devils were able to secure three more runs off of RBI from Sierra Rodriguez, Bailey Wigness and Sashel Palacios.

In the fifth inning, Popescue shut down the Highlanders to record her third complete game in as many starts this season. The senior righty has now pitched 16.0 innings without allowing an earned run and could draw the first start next weekend for Arizona State as the Sun Devils take on Tennessee State on Thursday night.

Series Notes

  • Arizona State went 6-0 in the Kajikawa Classic with its first four victories coming against Creighton, New Mexico, NC State and Penn State
  • Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue each started three games this weekend and both won all three of their starts.
  • Arizona State outscored its opponents 48-3 this weekend and two of the runs the Sun Devils allowed were unearned.
  • Through six games, Cheyenne Coyle is hitting .600 (9-17) with team-highs in home runs (3) and RBIs (11)
  • Eight of the Sun Devils' nine starters hit .300 or better this weekend. The only player under .300 (Haley Steele, .278) had six RBI on Sunday.
  • On Friday night, Arizona State hosts defending National Champion Oklahoma at 6:00 p.m. MT.