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3 in a row: Softball Series-bound again

May 24, 2008

ASU’s softball team is heading to the NCAA Women’s College World Series for the third straight year.

The Sun Devils defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 9-0 in six innings May 24 to advance to the WCWS in Oklahoma City, where they will face Alabama at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Game time between the No. 3-seeded Crimson Tide and No. 6 seed ASU is set for 4 p.m. Arizona time, May 29, with the game to be televised by ESPNHD.

The victory over Northwestern gives ASU a 61-5 record overall this season and 5-0 in NCAA tournament play.

ASU is one of the top-hitting teams in the nation, with a .332 batting average, and the Sun Devils sport the top slugging percentage in the country at .562. They also lead the nation in home runs – 95 of them, to be precise.

“We have great leadership this year,” says Clint Meyers, ASU’s head softball coach. “It’s the players’ club. We are trying to establish a philosophy and tradition. This is the first (senior) class that has really taken it to heart. They set a perfect example. They are role models. You bring your son or daughter to a game and watch these kids play, you understand how to play sports: with your heart and your mind, and your commitment and desire. All of these intangibles, our seniors possess. Each day there is a different hero. It is going to be a fun trip.”

The Crimson Tide, now 56-6 on the season, own a 4-2 all-time record against ASU, including a 3-0 mark in NCAA tournament play. Alabama won the NCAA Tempe Regional in 2000 with two wins against the Sun Devils to advance to the WCWS that year, and also beat ASU in the 2005 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.

The other two teams in ASU’s half of the WCWS bracket are Arizona and UCLA. The other four teams in the WCWS are Florida, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.