(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Escobedo nearly throws no-hitter as Arizona State softball remain perfect
(Photo:Josh Frons) The No. 5 Arizona State Sun Devils capped off an eventful Friday night in Tempe with a 7-0 victory over the No. 11 defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners and a 5-2 win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The first end of the two games was a statement game for the Sun Devils. All-American senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo led the way with a complete game gem. The righty carried a perfect game through 4.2 innings before an error on a routine pop-up was made by sophomore infielder Nikki Girard. “The error, it happens. Things are going to happen. You can’t control it,” Escobedo said. “We knew pretty early on that Dallas had great stuff tonight,” ASU head coach Craig Nicholson said. “Obviously, when you have that going for you, that’s a big confidence booster.” Escobedo continued her dominant night, carrying a no-hit bid 6.2 innings before an infield grounder allowed Oklahoma junior third baseman Shelby Pendley to reach base. Escobedo finished her night with 12 strikeouts, zero walks and one hit allowed. “Shutting them down for seven innings and giving up one hit, I’m okay with that,” Escobedo said. The Sun Devil offense was firing as well. Junior third baseman Haley Steele sent her third home run in as many games over the left field fence in the second inning. “It took us a little bit to get going offensively,” Nicholson said. “But I thought second time through, third time through we were going to make some adjustments.” ASU racked up four runs in the fourth inning after a two-run single from junior infielder Elizabeth Caporuscio and a two-run homer from freshman Chelsea Gonzales. Caporuscio extended her hitting streak to seven games. “It’s one win,” Nicholson said. “It’s a long journey.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, ASU fought off a feisty SIUE Cougars squad.
After the Sun Devils took a 3-0 lead after three innings, SIUE put up two of their own off of a single and sac fly. Popescue settled down and continued to toss a solid game. The senior finished with seven strikeouts, one walk, and two earned runs. Junior first baseman Bethany Kemp tacked on a two-run home run of her own to stretch the Sun Devil lead.The Sun Devils will play their third game of the Littlewood Classic against Illinois State at 1:30 p.m. as they look to remain undefeated and reach ten wins. “We just got to make sure that we stay focused, that we come back out tomorrow ready to go and that we don’t put to much into any one game,” Nicholson said. “But I thought we performed very well tonight.” You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org