OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Defending champion Arizona State staved off elimination with a 6-0 win over LSU on Saturday night in the Women’s College World Series.
The third-seeded Sun Devils will have to beat No. 4 seed Oklahoma twice Sunday afternoon to advance to Monday’s championship series. The Sooners (52-8) did not play on Saturday after beating South Florida on Thursday and then California on Friday.
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Sunday’s first game will be played at 10 a.m. Arizona time; if necessary, a second game would be played at 4 p.m.
“We have some important softball to play tomorrow,” ASU coach Clint Myers said afterward. “So we’re still figuring things out. But we’ll show up tomorrow and put on a good show, hopefully.”
Alix Johnson was a big part of ASU’s two big innings. She broke a scoreless tie in the third with a three-run home run on the first pitch from LSU starter Rachele Fico, and in the fifth, Johnson singled, stole second and scored along with Haley Steele and Amber Freeman on a single by Sam Parlich.
Johnson’s homer, her 13th of the year, was a long shot to center that brought in Elizabeth Caporuscio and Katelyn Boyd. She finished 2 for 4 with the three RBIs and two runs scored after having struck out four times in Friday night’s loss to Alabama.
“I think it’s important that, as a player, when you have a rough game, to seriously just shake it off and let it go and to not think about it anymore,” Johnson said. “And I kind of did that once we left the field. I got a good night’s sleep, and it was back at it the next day.”
After the Sun Devils scored three times in the fifth to make it 6-0, Fico was replaced by Brittany Mack. The starter went 4 2/3 innings and struck out two.
ASU starter Hillary Bach was called for five illegal pitches for lifting her pivot foot but settled down to finish the four-hit shutout. It was her 11th this season as she improved to 22-1.
“It was a good challenge,” Bach said of bouncing back from the illegal pitches. “It was something that I haven’t really experienced a lot of. I’ve had a couple of calls but always been able to come right back. … It was good practice, and I think we overcame it well.”
The six-run margin was the largest of the Women’s College World Series thus far.