The third-ranked ASU softball team hosts a four-game series against the unranked Portland State Vikings this weekend. The Sun Devils come in 12-0 after sweeping both the Kajikawa Classic and Littlewood Classic in Tempe, while the Vikings have played all of their games away from home and come in with a 4-7 record.
Vikings players to watch:
The ASU pitching staff will have two batters to fear when facing the Portland State line-up. Lauran Bliss leads the team in average, hitting .379 and has 11 hits in 11 games. If Bliss is taking care of the contact hitting, it’s Carly McEachran who is carrying the power load for Portland State.
McEachran has four home runs, a slugging percentage of .750 and has a .306 average through her 11 games. If the Vikings want to find success against the Sun Devils this weekend, Bliss and McEachran will have to lift the team offensively.
Sun Devils players to watch:
Expect Mackenzie Popescue and Dallas Escobedo to start two games apiece in the circle for the Sun Devils this weekend. Popescue comes in with a 4-0 record and a 0.48 ERA in her five starts this season.
Escobedo is not to be out-shone, however. She comes in with an 8-0 record and 0.77 ERA in her nine starts. The bats for ASU have been great, but it really has been the pitching that has carried the way so far.
Keys to the game:
You now know what batters to watch for the Vikings and what pitchers to watch for the Sun Devils, but the game could come down to the opposite. ASU has outscored their opponents 89-9 this year, for an average of over eight runs per game. Keep in mind they haven’t played all seven innings in every game because of games they have won by the mercy rule.
Meanwhile, Portland State has been outscored 60-23 by their opponents this season. If they want a chance to win even just a game in this series, their pitching will have to shine through. The Vikings pitching staff comes in with a 5.20 ERA and have given up an average of 5.45 runs per game. If they are going to win a game in this series, they will need to keep it low scoring.