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Sun Devils aided by mercy-rule in win over Stanford

(Photo:Sun Devil Athletics)

There was no need for late-game heroics Sunday night as the Arizona State softball team defeated Stanford, 9-0 in five innings.

“Tonight, everything came together,” head coach Craig Nicholson said. “We made some good defensive plays and we hit and pitched well.”

A big issue for the Sun Devils this season has been hitting with runners on base but that wasn’t an issue on Sunday as ASU scored three of their nine runs off of sacrifice flies. Alix Johnson led off the bottom of the first and later scored on a sac-fly by Haley Steele. ASU led 1-0 after one. Bethany Kemp extended the lead to 2-0 after a solo home run in the second. Kemp’s home run was her eighth of the season.

“We are just trying to get our job done,” left fielder Elizabeth Caporuscio said when asked about hitting with runners on base. “We get excited when runners are in scoring position.”

Cardinal starting pitcher Kylie Sorenson struggled in her 11th appearance of the season. The Sun Devils scored seven runs in the bottom of the third including a two-run home run from Amber Freeman followed by a two-run shot from Cheyenne Coyle two batters later. ASU added two more runs in the inning to give the Sun Devils a nine-run cushion.

That lead was more than enough for starting pitcher Mackenzie Popescue. After struggling last night, Popescue rebounded by throwing all five innings, allowing two hits, and striking out three. Popescue lowered her era on the season to 1.07 and is now 14-1 on the year.

“It’s a funny game. It’s a game of failure,” Popescue said when asked about the differences between last night and tonight. “Yesterday, I was worrying about things I couldn’t control. Today I went out there and told myself I was going to make them (Stanford) swing and not look for the called strikeout. You can control the controllable.”

ASU looks to sweep the series tomorrow when they host the Cardinal at 4 p.m..

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