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Coyle’s walk-off pushes ASU past the Beavers

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In front of a sell-out crowd at Farrington Stadium on Friday, the No. 2 Arizona State Sun Devils (33-3, 4-1) gave the fans plenty to cheer about in their 5-1 walk-off victory over the No. 23 Oregon State Beavers. The game was close for most of the contest until Cheyenne Coyle’s grand slam gave the Sun Devils their 33rd win of the season.

“I was trying to put my lower half into my swing more and swing at a pitch that I normally like to hit,” Coyle said.

Coyle is no stranger to hitting grand slams in maroon and gold as she hit another one earlier this season as part of an inning where the Sun Devils hit two Grand Slams back on February 16th.

The score was tied 1-1 after six innings in a game that was dominated by pitching. Sun Devil starter Mackenzie Popescue earned her 15th win of the season by pitching a complete game two-hitter.

“My plan is to throw right at the hitter so if I have a hitter crowding the plate, I’m going to jam them so they hit it where I want them to, “ Popescue said.

“[My defense] was set up right and it worked out,”

Popescue sent the Beavers down in order in six of the seven innings she pitched with her only run being unearned after Oregon State scored on a Coyle throwing error.

“This was one of the best, if not the best game I’ve seen her throw. [She had] total command [of her pitches],” Coach Clint Myers said.

Popescue was matched in the circle by Oregon State starter Tina Andreana who held the Sun Devils to three hits in five and two thirds innings of work. For Andreana, only two balls left the infield during her outing.

Arizona State got the scoring started in the third inning on an RBI groundout from Cheyenne Coyle that was setup an at-bat earlier by an error from Oregon State left fielder Lea Castevany.

However, the Sun Devils could not hold the lead as Oregon State tied the game in the fourth after two infield hits led to the Coyle error scoring Beavers’ center fielder Dani Gilmore.

Popescue did not give up a hit during her final three innings which gave the Devils a chance to win it in the seventh.

Lucy Aubrecht led off the inning with a double that was followed by a Sam Parlich single over the Beaver third baseman expecting a bunt. Bethany Kemp, who replaced Bailey Wigness as a pinch-hitter, then walked to load the bases.

After an Alix Johnson flyout, Coyle stepped to plate and took the second pitch of the at-bat deep to center for a grand slam giving the Sun Devils a 5-1 walk off victory.

Coyle finished with five RBIs on Friday bringing her total to a team leading 40 this season.

The sellout was also the Sun Devils’ first of the season.

“The players, the fans, and the kids are all enjoying themselves and the opportunity to interact with our fans is huge,” Myers said. “It was a great crowd that was energetic, they were our tenth man,” Myers said.

ASU will cap off their weekend series against Oregon State on Sunday at 2 p.m. in a game slated to be nationally televised by the Pac-12 Network.

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