ASU softball walks off to stay unbeaten

TEMPE, Ariz. – The third-ranked Arizona State softball team needed a walk-off hit to escape with a 4-3 win over Portland State on Sunday in a game played in gusting 30 mph winds.

With the win, the Sun Devils improved to 16-0 on the season, their best start since opening 19-0 in 2006.
 
Portland State (4-11) proved to be ASU’s most resilient opponent of the season thus far, taking leads in two of the games in the series, including Sunday’s.
 
The Devils got on the board first, though, when on a 2-2 count in the fifth, Sam Parlich homered to center to gave ASU the 1-0 edge. Portland State rallied in the next stanza with back-to-back home runs by Becca Bliss and Alicia Fine. The margin was extended to 3-1 when the Vikings loaded the bases and Dallas Escobedo walked in a run.

Escobedo amassed nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, allowing

just two hits in the first five innings before Portland State found its offense with the three runs in the sixth.

Portland State starter Anna

Bertrand was similarly impressive until ASU awoke in the bottom of the seventh, first closing the gap to 3-2 on another leadoff home run by Parlich. The long ball was her third of the season and the 20th of her career, tying her for 13th all-time at ASU.

With their undefeated start still in jeopardy, the Devils continued their rally to tie it at 3-3 on a Cheyenne Coyle single to center that scored Bailey Wigness.

Freshman pinch hitter Jennifer Soria finished things off with a single of her that plated Coyle to give ASU the walk-off win, the second of the weekend.

Mackenzie Popescue, who relieved Escobedo with two outs in the sixth, was the pitcher of record, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings for her third win of the weekend. Overall against Portland State, Popescue (7-0) had a 1.68 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.
 
For the series, Elizabeth Caporuscio had a team-best eight hits while Parlich broke out for eight RBIs.

The Sun Devils return home to play a lone game against North Dakota Feb. 28 against North Dakota at 7 p.m., then host the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational starting on Friday.