ASU softball completes sweep with rout of Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. — The seventh-ranked Arizona State softball team hit four solo home runs early and closed things out with a six-run fifth inning to complete a sweep of Cal, winning by a score of 10-0 in five innings Sunday.

It was the second Pac-12 sweep of the season for the Sun Devils (35-6, 9-3 Pac-12), who earned one earlier this year against Cal’s Bay Area counterpart, Stanford, in Tempe. Since dropping two of three in the Pac-12-opening series against Oregon State, ASU has won eight of its last nine games.

Amber Freeman led the way with two homers for the Sun Devils, putting ASU on the board in the first inning with a two-out laser over the left field fence for her first home run of the game and an early 1-0.

In the top of the second, Bethany Kemp launched a towering shot into the grandstands beyond left field for her team-leading 11th home run of the season, putting the Sun Devils up 2-0.

The bats stayed hot into the top of the third, as Alix Johnson launched an opposite-field bomb over the fence in left for ASU’s third homer of the game. Just two batters later, Freeman gave some love to the grass beyond the right-field fence with another opposite-field homer, her second long ball of the game, to make it  4-0.

ASU didn’t have its first base runner until a Haley Steele single on the ensuing at bat, with all four hits up to that point coming on solo homers.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Sun Devils put it away in the fifth, with Cheyenne Coyle getting things going with a stand-up double over the center fielder’s head to lead off the inning.

Freeman drew a walk before Elizabeth Caporuscio brought home Coyle with an RBI single to left field. Kemp would then load the bases with a single to shallow center to bring up freshman Chelsea Gonzales. The freshman sent a long fly ball down the left-field line that bounced off the top of the fence and brought home pinch runner Abby Spiel to give ASU a 7-0 lead. The single brought Gonzales’ numbers on the weekend with the bases loaded to 3 for 4 with seven RBI.

Nikki Girard then came to the plate and launched a stand-up double to the gap in right to bring home Kemp and Gonzales, extending the Sun Devils’ advantage to 9-0.

Bailey Wigness singled up the middle to bring Girard home and finish off the scoring.  

Dallas Escobedo did the rest with another exceptional performance in the circle, pitching her team-leading ninth shutout of the season while giving up just three hits and walking two. The senior struck out 10 Cal batters despite the shortened game, making it the fourth consecutive game in which she has eclipsed double-digit strikeouts. She now has 1,114 strikeouts in her career, ranking 56th in NCAA history in the category.