In just her second year at Arizona State, head coach Trisha Ford has the Sun Devils hosting a regional for the first time since 2014. As well as earning ASU’s first top-eight seed since 2013, putting the Devils in a position to host a Super Regional, pending this weekend’s results.
Before thinking about a Super Regional or getting to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series, the Sun Devils must take care of business against the three teams they’ll play host to this upcoming weekend.
Arizona State (43-11) takes on New Mexico State (29-22) in its first game of the regional on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. MST. This will be the third meeting between the two teams with both hosting one another once. The Sun Devils took both games by a score of 3-0 and 5-1.
The Sun Devils are expected to have senior right-hander Breanna Macha in the circle against the Aggies. In Macha’s two games against the WAC champions, she threw a combined nine innings, allowing a total of eight hits and one run.
Depending on the results of the first two games in Tempe, the Sun Devils will either face Long Beach State (42-12) or Ole Miss (30-23) on Saturday. Long Beach State finished second in the Big West Conference this season, bus wins over tournament teams such as Auburn, Minnesota and Oregon State helped the Dirtbags get a high at-large bid.
In the circle, LBSU is led by sophomore Cielo Meza who has pitched 170 innings this year and holds a 1.48 ERA with 22 wins this season. The two most dangerous bats in the Long Beach State lineup belong to freshman center fielder Naomi Hernandez, who is batting .388, along with sophomore first baseman Taylor Rowland, who leads the Dirtbags with 12 home runs this year.
Ole Miss is in a regional with the Sun Devils for the second straight year, but this time it’s the Rebels making the across country trip. Despite making it to a Super Regional last season, Ole Miss finished second-to-last in the SEC. In their final game last year at the Oxford Regional, the Rebels beat ASU, 2-0.
The ace for Ole Miss is senior righty Kaitlin Lee, the same pitcher who shutout the Sun Devils a year ago. Lee has provided the Rebels with 16 wins and a 2.32 ERA this season. Ole Miss won’t hit a lot of home runs as its team-leader only has six. A pair of upperclassmen outfielders in Elantra Cox and Kylan Becker bat over .300 at the top of the lineup.
If the Sun Devils were to win their regional they’d face the winner of the Columbia Regional that includes No. 9 South Carolina, Hofstra, Liberty and UNC-Greensboro.
All games from the Tempe Regional can be seen on WatchESPN.