ASU softball holds on to beat UCLA

March 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- The Arizona State softball team held on for a 5-4 win over No. 12 UCLA on Sunday to take its first Pac-12 series of the season.

ASU (31-3, 2-1 Pac-12) won the final two games against UCLA (24-6, 1-2 Pac-12) after dropping the series opener.

The Sun Devils led 5-0 after the top of the fourth, but the Bruins rallied to make it 5-4 in the sixth. UCLA put ASU to the test in the bottom of the seventh, with the potential winning run reaching base, but Mackenzie Popescue and the defense thwarted the threat to finish off the win.
Nikki Girard hit her second long ball of the series to put ASU ahead 2-0 in the third. With two outs, the freshman brought in Elizabeth Caporuscio, who had reached on a fielder's choice in the preceding at-bat.
The Sun Devils stretched their lead to 5-0 on four hits and three runs in the fourth. Bailey Wigness got things started with a walk, then stole second and got to third on a passed ball. Alix Johnson plated the speedy Wigness with a double to right center. The fourth run came in when Amber Freeman's single to right scored Johnson. Girard then singled to left to drive in Butterfield, who was running for Freeman.
Britney Rodriguez put UCLA on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run home run to left, making it a 5-2 ballgame.

For the second time in the series, UCLA picked up all of its runs scored by way of home run. Stephany LaRosa led off with a homer to dead center in the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-3. Later in the inning, with two on and nobody out, Arizona State brought in Mackenzie Popescue in relief of starter Dallas Escobedo, who finished with just one strikeout. UCLA was able to pick up one additional run via groundout before the frame closed, cutting the margin 5-4.
ASU held on, though, after UCLA put two runners on with just one out in the bottom of the seventh.
With the save from Popescue, the first of her career, Escobedo got the win to improve to a team-best 16-3. Paige McDuffee suffered the loss for UCLA.