The third-ranked Arizona State softball team had four very entertaining games this weekend against Portland State, including their longest game since 2008 and a come-from-behind victory. OF Elizabeth Caporuscio was the star of the weekend going 8-for-12 in the series, and now leads the Sun Devils with a .460 batting average and 23 hits. Caporuscio went a career high 4-for-4 on Friday including her 18h career home run, which ties her for 13th on the Sun Devils’ all-time list.
1. Freshmen make a huge impact
The class of 2016 had a major impact on this weekend’s series as Abby Spiel scored the game-winning run in the Sun Devils’ 12-inning marathon victory on Friday and Jennifer Soria had the game-winning RBI on Sunday.
In four games last weekend, the freshman class combined for seven runs and six RBIs. “ I am very impressed with the freshmen class. We call them freshmen now but come May they will not be freshman anymore. They will be seasoned experienced ball players that need to understand how to step up and perform.”
Pitcher Jenna Makis made her collegiate debut on the mound Saturday as she threw two innings and gave up no runs. Pitcher Alexis Cooper also pitched on Saturday, striking out one in one inning.
2. Popescue is taking pressure off of Escobedo
Starting pitcher Mackenzie Popesuce was given the task of replacing Hilary Bach as the Sun Devils’ no. 2 starter this year after Bach graduated. With three wins this weekend, Popescue has already tied her win total from last year and got out of a huge jam in sixth inning on Sunday when she replaced starter Dallas Escobedo, who left the bases loaded with two outs.
Popescue got the Vikings hitter to ground out. “[Mackenzie] came right in and saved the game. I am happy with her performance [on Sunday],” Myers said. With all of the attention around Escobedo, Popescue is quietly dominating her completion as she has only given up 4 earned runs in 37.2 innings. She has an earned run average of 0.74 and has only given up one home run.
With Escobedo already struggling in two of her appearances, Popescue proved that she is ready to carry the team if needed.
3. There is no weakness in the Sun Devils offense
The Sun Devils now average almost eight runs per game through 16 games, as they scored 38 this past weekend. Besides Alix Johnson (.272), every Sun Devil starter is batting at least .300. What is most impressive about this team is that it is not just the same player leading the team every game. Multiple Sun Devils have had breakout games this year. Second baseman Sam Parlich had eight RBIs this weekend, Caporuscio went 8-for-12, and shortstop Cheyenne Coyle scored 4 runs on Saturday.
Coach Myers showed how confident he was with anybody on his team when he brought in Soria off the bench to pinch hit on Sunday. “I’m not afraid to let someone else do it. This is a team and you better be ready because you may have the game on the line when you have your next opportunity.”
The Sun Devils will host North Dakota on Thursday before welcoming Binghamton, East Dakota, North Carolina, and Baylor for the Wilson/ DeMarini Invitational all weekend at Farrington Stadium.