After winning two of three at Stanford and seven of their last eight overall, the No. 2 Arizona State softball team comes home for a three game series against the No. 14 Washington Huskies. The Huskies are coming into this series on a seven-game winning streak and are currently 9-3 in Pac-12 play. This will be the first meeting between these two teams this year.
Huskies to Watch:
Junior outfielder Victoria Hayward has been tearing things up for the Huskies so far this season. She’s hitting .403 while leading the team with 52 hits and 40 runs scored. Hayward takes care of the contact hitting while Kaitlin Inglesby supplies the power as well as the pitching dominance from in the circle. Inglesby leads the team with 9 home runs and 44 RBI’s. She’s also the ace of the staff with a 16-4 record and a 1.50 ERA.
Sun Devils to Watch:
The number two pitcher on the No. 2 team’s depth chart is making a case not only for ace of the staff, but for the best pitcher in the country. Mackenzie Popescue is a perfect 16-0 with a 1.19 ERA. Dallas Escobedo is not far behind, however. She is 19-4 with a 2.24 ERA. She leads the team in with 213 strikeouts in just 144 innings. With those two in the circle, the pitching is taken care of and as far as the lineup goes, everybody is contributing. ASU has a team average of .352 with a slugging percentage of .606. Leading the way is catcher Amber Freeman, who leads the team with 44 hits and 49 RBIs. Freeman is also second on the team with 13 home runs.
Keys to the Game:
The Sun Devils can win in so many different ways. They can hit the long ball or get a two out rally going. The best chance for the Huskies is to try to minimize the impact of power hitters Amber Freeman and Cheyenne Coyle. They need to make the Sun Devils string a bunch of hits together and go for the small inning. With Inglesby on the mound, they may be able to do just that. She has given up just 23 runs all season. The best chance for the Huskies to win a game in this series is to have Inglesby pitch her game to stop the ASU power bats and then just have good defense and timely hitting behind her.