ASU softball makes dramatic sweep of Arizona
History was made in dramatic fashion, as the No. 1 ASU Softball Team rallied back Saturday afternoon to complete the sweep of back-to-back national champions, the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, with a 9-8 walk-off win sealing their first sweep of the `Cats in 20 years. The win gives ASU a 48-3 overall record and a 10-1 conference record while Arizona drops to 29-14 and 6-6 in the Pac.
This time the `Cats struck first and early as they put together a two out rally in the first inning, with Sam Bannister hitting her fifth home run of the season to plate three and take a 3-0 lead. The Sun Devils came back in the bottom of the inning to make sure the lead was short-lived putting two on the scoreboard off a wild pitch and yet another RBI hit from Mindy Cowles.
The Sun Devils came around to take the lead in the third as Krista Donnenwirth stepped in to hit a two-run home run deep to right center as ASU took a 5-3 lead after two complete. The `Cats cut the lead down to one in the fourth, taking advantage of an ASU error, but Donnenwirth again took the run right back as she crushed a 1-2 pitch from Mowatt so deep into left center it nearly hit another ASU facility over 80 feet past the outfield wall to put the score at 6-4 after five.
A solo shot from Arizona designated player Stacie Chambers in the sixth cut the lead to 6-5 until the top of the seventh where UA broke it open with a three run home run from Lanie Roth for her 11th of the season as Arizona took an intimidating 8-6 lead going into ASU's final at-bats.
The Sun Devils started off the inning with a strikeout to bring up Krista Donnenwirth who was intentionally walked bringing the tying run to the plate. With Michelle Nulliner pinch running for Donnenwirth on first, Lesley Rogers looked to advanced her and did so with Mowatt's help as she was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with the winning run at the plate. Mindy Cowles took the batter's box next to dig a 0-2 hole for herself which made no difference as she laced an RBI double to left center to cut the `Cats to a one-run lead.
With runners in scoring position and one out, senior catcher Kristen Miller stepped in holding an 0-for-3 tally on the day and with one pitch from Taryne Mowatt, she hit a two RBI single up the middle to seal yet another nut for the Sun Devils and a sweep of Arizona.
The last ASU sweep of Arizona came in 1988, under ASU's first Head Coach Mary Littlewood, who led ASU to six wins over the Wildcats that year, four of which were in the regular season.
The Sun Devils will continue to rip through their Pac-10 season next weekend as they host the Oregon schools. ASU will take on the Oregon State Beavers on Friday, April 25 and the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. All games will be played in Tempe at Farrington Stadium.