ASU softball overpowers 24th-ranked Stanford

TEMPE, Ariz. — The 11th-ranked Arizona State softball team (29-5, 3-2 Pac-12) routed No. 24 Stanford (23-10, 1-4 Pac-12) 9-0 in five innings Sunday night.

In a much different affair from the previous night’s 16-15, nine-inning barnburner that lasted a whopping 4 hours and 10 minutes, Sunday’s contest took just over an hour and a half, and — also unlike last night — the result was never truly in question in front of an announced crowd of 1,694 at Farrington Stadium.

The Sun Devils had three home runs in the contest to back senior pitcher Mackenzie Popescue, who threw five scoreless innings and picked up her team-leading 15th victory this season. Popescue gave up two hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts and improved to 15-1 on the season and 2-0 in Pac-12 action.

"We knew it was going to be another good game," senior Cheyenne Coyle said. "I just think our pitching staff did a really good job of shutting them down today and our hitters continued hitting."

The ASU offense had its second impressive performance in as many days, putting together a seven-run third inning that broke the game open.  The Sun Devils have scored 25 runs in two games against the Cardinal in the series.

"We’ve got some of the best hitting in the country, so it definitely takes some of the pressure off of me," Popescue said.

Amber Freeman went 2-for-2 on the night with three RBI and a two-run home run, which came in the third inning and helped open up the game. The junior catcher is now batting .456 on the season with five home runs, 27 RBI and an impressive .528 on-base percentage.

Coyle and first baseman Bethany Kemp also homered in the game, their eighth and ninth of the season, respectively.

"I really wanted a good pitch that I could drive," Coyle said. "It didn’t matter if it was in or out. I just wanted a good pitch I could elevate."

Junior Elizabeth Caporuscio went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored; her double was her team-leading 12th of the season.

Haley Steele got the Sun Devils going early with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to bring home Alix Johnson to make it 1-0. It was Steele’s 34th RBI of the season, giving her seven more than any of her Sun Devil teammates.

Kemp expanded the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the second with her solo shot to left, her team-leading ninth home run this season — notable as it matched her total from the entirety of last year.

The bats really came alive in the third. Bailey Wigness singled to lead off the inning to set up Freeman’s jack to open the lead up to 4-0. After Steele singled in the following at-bat, Coyle sent a bomb to left field that nearly hit the gymnastics building more than 50 feet behind the left-feld foul pole to put ASU up 6-0.

The scoring didn’t stop there, as Kemp walked and advanced to third on Caporuscio’s double before scoring on a Chelsea Gonzales sacrifice fly. Caporuscio would come around on a Alix Johnson sacrifice fly, and pinch hitter Sierra Rodriguez also would come home in the inning on a Freeman single as the Sun Devils batted around.

That capped the scoring at 9-0, and after a hitless fourth and fifth inning for Stanford, the game ended with ASU’s 15 run-rule victory this year to give the Sun Devils their first Pac-12 series win of the season.