ASU came into Saturday perfect, and that’s how they left, with an 11-0 record after sweeping their double header against Illinois Chicago University and Illinois State.
Game one against ICU featured pure dominance displayed by the Sun Devils as they beat the Flames 15-0 in a mercy rule-shortened five inning game.
Everything clicked for ASU. Starting pitcher Mackenzie Popescue pitched four innings of two-hit, shutout ball with Alexis Cooper coming in to close the game out in the fifth.
Popescue improved to 4-0 on the year and seemed to be in control all game, but she was in a comfort level because of the Sun Devils run support. “It took a lot of pressure off and I’m very comfortable with a big lead.”
The Sun Devils put up one in the first on a Caporuscio single to left that scored Freeman, and three in the second inning with the help of three walks and an error. The Sun Devils had four runs before they had two hits in this game. Coach Myers said, “You can’t give good teams extra opportunities. They did that to us today and we took advantage of it.”
The Sun Devils picked up three more runs in the fourth but it was the fifth inning that was one for the ages. They put up eight runs on two swings. That’s right: two grand slams in one inning for ASU. It was only the second time in school history that it had happened.
The blasts came from Cheyenne Coyle who finished the game with five RBI and freshman Katee Aguirre who, in just three at bats in her ASU career, has a double and this grand slam. “Katee has come a long ways. She’s 2-3 in pinch hit appearances. It was nice see her in there hitting the way she did,” Coach Myers said.
ASU played a different team from Illinois in the second game, but it was the same result. The Sun Devils defeated the Illinois State Redbirds 7-1, and once again ASU’s pitching couldn’t be hit.
Dallas Escobedo pitched a complete game five-hitter. The one run came on an Escobedo wild pitch in the third inning. She finished the game with 14 strikeouts improved to a perfect 7-0.
Escobedo had plenty of run support early. The Sun Devils put up five runs in the second inning, with three coming off the bat of Alix Johnson on a three-run homer. Johnson went 5-7 on the day and said, “It felt really good. I felt a little bit more relaxed at the plate.”
Johnson shared co-Player of the Game honors with Escobedo as the Sun Devils outscored their opponents 22-1 today. ASU plays Minnesota tomorrow at 1:15 to finish off their play in the Littlewood Classic.