ASU softball splits doubleheader with Washington
SEATTLE, Wash. — In a pair of games that were not decided until the seventh inning or later, the sixth-ranked Arizona State softball team split its doubleheader against No. 11 Washington on Friday. ASU took the opener 3-1 before falling in 10 innings on a walk-off home run in a 3-2 loss.
The Sun Devils are now 39-7 on the season and 13-4 in Pac-12 action. The Huskies moved to 25-12 overall and 5-8 in the Pac-12.
Dallas Escobedo picked up the win for ASU in the early game and took the loss in the nightcap to move to 19-6 on the year.
ASU 3, WASHINGTON 1
For six innings of the first game of the doubleheader, an overcast sky hovered over Seattle and over the ASU bats, which could not muster a single hit or base runner in that time against Washington’s Kaitlin Inglesby, who was looking for a perfect game with a 1-0 lead behind her.
But as Alix Johnson stepped up to bat in the top of the seventh, the sun poked out and the Sun Devils lived up to their moniker.
Johnson drew her Pac-12-leading 45th walk of the season to end the bid for a perfect game, and Amber Freeman came up two batters later and ended the no-hitter with a homer to dead center to give ASU a 2-1 lead.
Haley Steele made it back-to-back jacks just moments later, and Escobedo did the rest as ASU pulled out a come-from-behind victory that seemed improbable 15 minutes earlier.
Escobedo finished with 11 strikeouts while giving up just five hits and a walk. Washington’s only run came on a solo home run by Inglesby in the fourth. Escobedo struck out the final two batters in the bottom of the seventh to close the door and pick up her 20th victory of the season.
Inglesby was a one-woman show for the Huskies, as she struck out seven and set down 18 consecutive ASU batters to start the game while providing all of Washington’s offense with her solo shot.
That looked for a while like it might be enough, but for the fifth time in the last six games, the Sun Devils came from behind after trailing in the fifth, sixth or top of the seventh inning to take the victory.
WASHINGTON 3, ASU 2 (10)
While the bats finally came alive in the second game of the doubleheader, ASU’s ability to pick up critical hits did not, as the Sun Devils stranded a season-high 15 batters in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings despite posting 14 hits in the game.
Hooch Fagaly took the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the 10th inning over the fence in left field to give the Huskies the walkoff victory and a split of the doubleheader.
Haley Steele set a career high with four hits and helped ASU get on board first in the top of the second when she scored on a Nikki Girard RBI single, giving the Sun Devils an early 1-0 lead.
ASU went on to load the bases in that inning with just one out, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat. The Sun Devils then reloaded the bases in the top of the third with two outs, but a strikeout ended that threat as well.
Washington would even things at one in the fourth after loading the bases with just one out, as Inglesby scored her second run of the day on an infield grounder on which Cheyenne Coyle threw to first to retire Whitney Jones. Mackenzie Popescue would get out of the inning without any further damage, allowing ASU to escape with the score tied at 1-all.
The fifth inning produced more frustration for the Sun Devils, as a Cheyenne Coyle leadoff walk and back-to-back singles by Amber Freeman and Steele loaded the bases with no outs. ASU again couldn’t come up with a needed hit, with back-to-back strikes and a pop-out ending the threat and keeping the score tied.
The Huskies threated in the bottom half of the inning, as they loaded the bases after Fagaly singled following a Sun Devil infield error on what should have been a double play. Popescue was then pulled, with Escobedo entering in relief.
And Escobedo came up big, striking out the next three batters she faced to eliminate the threat and keep the Sun Devils in the game.
ASU finally brought a run across in the top of the seventh, when Bethany Kemp scored from first on a two-out RBI double by Girard for her second RBI of the game on a shot that was just inches shy of clearing the fence in left field.
With the Sun Devils trying to hold on to a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning, the Huskies’ Kelly Suguro singled to open the inning. Escobedo put down the next two batters, putting Washington on the brink, but then walked Inglesby, and Kylee Lahners followed with a single down the left-field line to even things up at 2-all.
In the top of the ninth, Steele advanced to second with just one out on an Elizabeth Caporuscio single, but as had been the case several times previously in the game, ASU could not get the clutch hit it needed, with the next two batters being set down in order.
Jenn Soria opened the top of the 10th with a leadoff single and reached third base with two outs, but an infield pop-up from Coyle ended the threat, setting up Hooch’s walk-off homer in the bottom half of the inning.
Escobedo finished the game with one run allowed on four hits to go along with eight strikeouts in four innings. Popescue went five innings, giving up two hits and five walks while striking out five.