TEMPE, Ariz. — The No. 7 Arizona State softball team beat Penn State 9-1 in six innings Saturday afternoon at Farrington Stadium.
Mackenzie Popescue allowed no earned runs for the second straight game, pitching six complete innings to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Sun Devils (4-0) had a shaky start to the game after some miscommunication in the outfield followed by a bobble on an infield grounder allowed the Nittany Lions (2-2) to jump out to an earlty 1-0 lead. Like the previous night against North Carolina State, however, ASU responded admirably.
Cheyenne Coyle singled to lead off the bottom of the first and was plated by Haley Steele two batters later to even things at one.
After a scoreless top of the second, the ASU bats began heating up, as Coyle hit a sacrifice fly to score Chelsea Gonzales before a Alix Freeman connected on the big hit of the inning, a three-run jack. It was her first homer of the year and extended the lead to 5-1.
The Devils did what they had to do in the field from that point on, as Popescue did not face more than five batters in an inning while the defense posting several highlight reel plays behind Popescue. One of those came from right fielder Bailey Wigness, who made a remarkable diving catch in the top of the second to help keep Penn State at only one run.
As for the offense, Amber Freeman and Bethany Kemp led the way, as the former went 3 for 4 on the day while Kemp went 2 for 3, both hit being doubles. Every ASU batter had at least one hit.
The Sun Devils added three more runs in the sixth inning with Elizabeth Caporuscio hitting a double to center field that scored pinch runner Jenn Soria, giving ASU the run-rule victory.
Johnson, who had just one RBI coming in to the evening, had a game-high four RBIs and the only home run of the game.
The victory gives ASU some more momentum going into their double header Sunday against Fresno State at 11:30 a.m. MT and UC Riverside at 2 p.m. at Farrington Stadium that will wrap up the opening weekend of the season. Watch both games being streamed live online via the Pac-12 Network.
With Coyle’s RBI, she now has eight in four games, leading the team in the category. She is slugging an impressive 1.400 through four games and has two of the teams five home runs to date.
Caporuscio is the only Sun Devil with a hit in each of the four games this season.