The Arizona State softball team went 4-1 in the Judi Garman Classic last week and now takes a 29-2 record into conference play. The Sun Devils travel to Los Angeles for a three game series against the UCLA Bruins this weekend. The 12th ranked Bruins haven’t played since March 12th and are 23-4 on the season.
Bruins players to watch:
Ally Carda is the ace of the Bruins staff. She has appeared in 21 of their 27 games. She comes in 14-2 with a 1.79 ERA. Carda has given up just 34 runs in over 93 innings this season. In addition to her work in the circle, Carda does a little more than hold her on in the batter’s box. She is second on the team in both home runs and RBI’s on the season.
Right in front of her is senior outfielder B.B Gates. Gates leads the team with a .929 slugging percentage, home runs with 13 and RBI’s with 40. The rest of the Bruins line-up is strong too. They have a .318 average as a team.
Sun Devils players to watch:
The two-headed monster of Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue leads the ASU pitching staff. They’ve combined for a 28-2 record and have allowed 41 runs in their 186 innings of work.
By no means has ASU been just a pitching dominant team. They’ve outscored their opponents 249 to 50 so far this season and leading the way is junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle. She has constantly provided great contact hitting as well as power for the Sun Devils. Coyle has a .440 average to go along with her team leading 34 RBI’s and 10 home runs.
The Sun Devils everyday starters are hitting at least .326 on the season and the ASU team average is .366.
Keys to the series:
This series will come down to the ability of the Sun Devils to shut down Carda and Gates. After that, the power numbers dip for the Bruins and the rest of the line-up would not be able to outscore the Sun Devils by themselves. The Bruins also have proven that when they don’t give up home runs, they win games. They are a perfect 21-0 when their opponent doesn’t hit one out of the park. In contrast, ASU is 17-0 when they hit at least two home runs. Expect these games to be close and one swing of the bat may just make the difference.