If the Sun Devils were trying to score 20 runs in their 20th win of the year, they failed. If they were trying to do anything else on the diamond, they succeeded, seemingly with ease. They beat East Carolina 13-0, in the first game of their double header, to improve to a perfect 20-0 on the season.
Mackenzie Popescue got the start in the circle for the Sun Devils. She pitched four innings of two-hit ball and recorded three strikeouts to improve to 9-0 on the season.
However, the story in this one was the Sun Devils’ lineup, and particularly the play of Alix Johnson.
Johnson came into the game hitting a starters worst .283. She went 4-4 in the first game and that average jumped to .333. Those four hits included two home runs and five RBIs.
“We were never worried about Alix. She’s a hell of a ball player and she’s catching her stride right now,” ASU head coach Clint Myers said.
The rest of the Sun Devils lineup wasn’t too far behind her.
The team finished with 13 runs on 12 hits and won a mercy rule-shortened five-inning game. Jenna Makis stepped into the circle in the fifth inning to close out the game for ASU.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Dallas Escobedo stepped into the circle to go head-to-head with North Carolina’s ace Lori Spingola, the 2012 ACC Pitcher of the Year and it was as back and forth of a game as the Sun Devils have played this year.
The Sun Devils were also able to pull out their 21st victory, this by a score of 7-4 to stay perfect on the season.
The Tar Heels got the scoring started in the second inning with a two-run home run from shortstop Kristen Brown. ASU retaliated with an Amber Freeman home run in the third, followed by three more runs coming with two outs.
The Sun Devils back end of the order was able to walk and single their way to four total runs in the third.
The Tar Heels evened up the score on another two-run homer, this one by Jenna Kelly. It was her first of the season, and the second of the game that Dallas Escobedo gave up.
“Escobedo’s has to locate a little better, but she’s a hard thrower so when they hit it on the barrel, it’s going to go far. I’m not worried,” Myers said. With the win, Escobedo moved to 11-0 on the season.
Alix Johnson’s sac fly in the bottom of the fourth gave the Sun Devils the lead and they didn’t look back from there. ASU tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth to pull out a three run victory.
“We’re a team that has a lot of heart. Whether we’re down in the first or the sixth, we know we have a chance to win,” Johnson said.
ASU plays their first ranked opponent of year tomorrow when they face off against No. 22 Baylor in Tempe at 11:30 a.m. MT.