TEMPE, Ariz. — In the first matchup against a ranked opponent, the third-ranked Arizona State softball lost to No. 22 Baylor 6-2 on Sunday, bringing an end to the Devils’ perfect start to the season.
Sunday’s game was a rematch of the 2011 Women’s College World Series meeting between the teams, a series dominated by then-freshman Dallas Escobedo’s 10-0 and 4-0 victories against Baylor ace Whitney Canion.
Both pitchers reprised their roles in this meeting, but it was Canion coming out on the winning end as the Bears improved to 19-3.
Baylor gained control in the top of the first inning, jumping to a 2-0 lead on Linsey Hays’ two-run homer to center field. It didn’t take long for ASU to answer, though, tying it at 2-2 in the bottom of the frame. Back-to-back walks issued to Alix Johnson and Cheyenne Coyle put two Sun Devils in scoring position for Amber Freeman. A throwing error on an attempted pickoff play brought Johnson in to score and allowed Coyle to advance to third, and she scored to tie it on Freeman’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Bears went back ahead with two home runs in the third, with Sarah Smith launching one past the left-field fence for the lead and Heather Stearns following with a long ball to right-center to make it 4-2.
In the fourth, ASU elected to bring in Mackenzie Popescue, with Escobedo departing with six strikeouts under her belt. Baylor wasn’t deterred, though, as Robin Landrith homered to right field for a 6-2 Baylor lead.
The Bears had four home runs in seven hits.
ASU was unable to score after the first inning despite getting at least one runner on base in the third, fifth and sixth. Canion struck out 11 Sun Devils to move to 9-2 on the year.
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Escobedo (11-1) took the loss for the Sun Devils. Popescue struck out five batters in four innings worked.