Softball fights to top Kentucky, 5-4, in opening Super Regional game
A three-run homer by Cheyenne Coyle boosted Arizona State softball (49-10) to an early lead in the best-of-three series during the Tempe Super Regional against Kentucky (41-20). The Sun Devils hung on to top the Wildcats 5-4 on Saturday, May 25 and need just one more win Sunday to punch a ticket to the Women's College World Series.
Cheyenne Coyle went 1-for-2 at the dish with a homer in the third inning and a sacrifice fly in the fifth to tally four RBI on the night. Alix Johnson went a team best 3-for-3 at the plate. In the circle Dallas Escobedo earned her 29th win of the year and Mackenzie Popescueclosed the game for her third save of the season.
After two and a half innings of scoreless ball, Arizona State took a three-run lead afterBailey Wigness and Alix Johnson led off the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles.Cheyenne Coyle cleared the bases with her 20th home run of the season, a three-run shot to left for the 3-0 lead.
A home run by Christian Stokes in the top of the fifth snapped Dallas Escobedo's 35 consecutive innings of no earned runs. The shot cut the ASU lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, two additional Sun Devil runs would score to make it a 5-1 advantage. Wigness got on with a walk for her second appearance on the base paths and Johnson scored her in the next at-bat with a triple to left center. Johnson came home on a sacrifice fly to left by Coyle, which gave her four of the five RBI in ASU's boxscore.
Kentucky came up big in the top of the sixth to rally three home runs in the frame. Lauren Cumbess let one fly past the left field fence on UK's second full-count home run to lead it off. Alice O'Brien then roped her shot to right and Stokes sent her second homer of the night to left center, 5-4.
Escobedo was relieved in the top of the seventh for Mackenzie Popescue who closed the final stanza for her third save of the year and in doing so ensured Escobedo's 29th win (29-4). Kelsey Nunley took the loss for Kentucky, dropping her to 27-10.
ASU needs one more win to advance to its 11th Women's College World Series. Games on Sunday start at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN and if necessary, game three of the best-of-three series is slated for a 5 p.m. PT start on ESPN2.
ASU is now 82-47 in the NCAA Tournament. Holding a 29-3 record at Farrington Stadium under Clint Myers.
Coyle's home run in the third is her 20th of the season, a team best and ties the single-season ASU record of 20. She ranks 18th all-time in ASU career homers with 20. Her four RBI push her to 65 on the year, fifth in single-season marks.
Alix Johnson's stolen base ties her for 14th in ASU career records with 27 in her career and 15 on the year.
Dallas Escobedo now has 90 career wins (2nd all-time at ASU) and is one win shy of tying for third in single-season marks with 30 (has 29, 8th).
ASU has 47 home run games this season. Coming into the weekend, ASU ranked fourth nationally in homers with 1.59/game.
Mackenzie Popescue's appearance in the seventh inning is her first outing in the postseason since her four-pitch appearance against ULL on May 24, 2012, also in the Super Regionals.
All of ASU's WCWS appearances (6) under Myers have come after hosting a Super Regional in Tempe. Lone year without an appearance was 2010.
IN THE POSTSEASON
Myers: 52-13; 29-3 at home in postseason
ASU Program History: 82-47, 25th appearance
ASU in WCWS: 18-16, 10 appearances
Escobedo: 18-4; 4-0 in 2013
Popescue: 0-0; 0-0 in 2013, 1 save in 2013
TEMPE SUPER REGIONAL RESULTS | ORDER TICKETS
Game 1 | ASU 5, Kentucky 4
Game 2 | Sunday, May 26, 2 p.m. PT | ESPN
Game 3 if necessary | Sunday, May 26, 5 p.m. PT | ESPN2
All-Session Passes | On sale May 20, 1 p.m. PT
Field Level $30
Reserved Level $25
GA Adult $22
GA Jr./Sr./Groups $18
ASU Students $18
Single Game Prices | On sale May 22, 9 a.m. PT
Field Level $16
Reserved Level $14
GA Adult $12
GA Jr./Sr./Groups $10
ASU Students $10
Groups are 15 or more.