Softball splits with Syracuse, will face Louisiana Lafayette in Super Regional

May 20, 2012

he Arizona State softball team (49-8) dropped Sunday's first NCAA Regional game to No. 25 Syracuse, 1-0.  The loss forced a deciding Game 7 in which the Sun Devils prevailed, shutting out the Orange, 4-0 to advance to the Super Regional round.

Arizona State will advance to the NCAA Super Regional, set to take place next weekend here in Tempe. Louisiana Lafayette sports a 52-4 record coming into the best-of-three series. Game times and days are TBD. Check back at the ASU softball schedule page, here, for upcoming information. Download Full Image

GAME TWO |  Arizona State 4, Syracuse 0
After an hour succeeding the first game of the Sunday bracket, Arizona State heated up its bats for its second faceoff of the afternoon. Dallas Escobedo came back with a vengeance to shut out the Orange, throwing eight strikeouts in the contest, bringing her total to 16 on the day. She is now 22-5 on the year. Syracuse pitcher Jenna Caira earned the loss and is 27-9 at the end of SU's season. 

In the first, senior Katelyn Boyd led off with a double and after Alix Johnson reached on a walk, Annie Lockwood knocked both runners in with a double of her own to make it 2-0. A couple of fielding errors from the Orange proved costly, plating Haley Steele to put ASU up 3-0 after one frame.

Escobedo and Caira dove into another fierce combat after the hitting spree in the first, with 10 strikeouts combined between the two pitchers, and 15 strikeouts total in the game. Escobedo's dominance showed especially in the fourth, fighting back from a bases-loaded one-out inning to strike out the final two batters to tumultuous applause.

Steele stoked the flame in the bottom of the fourth, launching a leadoff solo homer past the left field wall to widen the lead to the final score of 4-0.  The homer marked her 10th of the season.

GAME ONE | Syracuse 1, Arizona State 0
Jenna Caira pitched a complete game shutout for the Orange (43-15) as she improved to 27-8 this year while ASU's Escobedo took the loss and fell to 21-5 on the season, at the time. 

Like Saturday's matchup, Syracuse drew first blood in the first inning as Stephanie Watts lined the first ball she saw over the center field wall for a two-out solo shot to put the Orange up 1-0.  That homer proved to be all it would take for Syracuse as Caira took over from there.

Outside the homer, the teams were locked in a pitcher's duel for the rest of the game.  Escobedo fanned five of the first six batters she faced - the Watts homer the lone exception - and neither she nor Caira allowed a runner beyond second base through the remainder of the game.

The Sun Devils had their best opportunity in the fourth with runners on first and second.when Sam Parlich grounded a ball into the infield that looked like it would squeeze into the gap. But SU's Morgan Nandin made a diving grab that she scooped to Watts for the force out at second.

ASU put runners on first and second again with two outs in the fifth before Annie Lockwood grounded a ball to Caira for an out at first.

Escobedo struck out eight on the game and allowed just two hits and one walk for a gem of a game.  Caira struck out five and allowed just four hits while walking three over the course of the contest. The double-elimination format forced the seventh game of the Tempe Regional as Syracuse had lost to Arizona State on Saturday, 3-1.

The Devils move on to the second round of NCAA Championship play, hosting the Super Regional next weekend against Louisiana Lafayette. The three-game series will be played against the Ragin' Cajuns, in double elimination format. Days and times are TBD.

Baseball sweeps away Washington with 9-6 victory

May 21, 2012

Sun Devil Pac-12 team titles

Pac-12 Baseball Standings as of May 20, 2012 games
Oregon, 19-8
Arizona, 18-9 (1 GB)
Arizona State, 17-10 (2 GB)
UCLA, 17-10 (2 GB)
Stanford, 17-10 (2 GB) Download Full Image

The 16th-ranked Arizona State baseball team completed its fourth consecutive home Pac-12 conference series sweep with a 9-6 victory over Washington on Sunday at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

The Sun Devils (35-18, 17-10) have won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games at Packard Stadium and finish the home season with a 23-6 record, including 14-1 in conference play. This is the first time since 1988 and only the third time in program history that ASU has swept four consecutive Pac-12 home series'.

Deven Marrero went 3-for-4 with three RBI and fell a home run short of the cycle, and Joey DeMichele batted in a trio of runs as all nine ASU starters recorded at least one hit.

Right-hander Robert Ravago (4-0) earned the win after escaping a jam in the seventh inning and right-hander Jake Barrett (11) threw a perfect eighth and ninth inning to collect his 11th save of the season.

Abe Ruiz, right-hander Joseph Lopez and left-hander Adrian Gomez were honored before the game during a senior day ceremony. Lopez gave up no runs and no hits with one walk in 2/3 innings, and Ruiz went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

The Devils struck first on an RBI sacrifice fly by DeMichele in the third inning to take the lead, 1-0. Andrew Aplin reached base on a single and advanced to third on a base hit by Marrero before sliding into home to score the first run of the game.

Branden Barry knocked in a two-run triple in the fourth frame and Caleb Brown added an RBI single in the following inning to put Washington on top, 3-1. ASU responded in the bottom of the fifth with a triple by Marrero and an RBI sacrifice fly by DeMichele to cut their deficit to one, 3-2.

The Huskies (27-24, 11-6) added a run in the sixth inning on an RBI double to stretch their advantage back to two, 4-2.

ASU regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, 6-4, behind a bases-clearing three-run double for Marrero and an RBI single by Kasey Coffman. Michael Benjamin walked, Coffman singled and Aplin reached on a fielders choice to load the bases for Marrero, who knocked in his seventh hit of the series.

UW got back-to-back two-out RBI singles in the top of the seventh to tie the game at six runs apiece, but a triple by James McDonald and an RBI sacrifice fly by Nathaniel Causey in the bottom of the frame put the Devils back on top, 7-6.

DeMichele and Ruiz each recorded an RBI in the eighth inning to push ASU's lead to three, 9-6.

Starting right-hander Alex Blackford gave up three runs on two hits and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings. Left-hander Adam McCreery replaced him in the fifth frame and allowed one run on four hits in 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Tyler Kane (5-2) took the loss after conceding four runs, including one earned, on four hits in two innings. Starting right-hander Aaron West lasted five innings and gave up two runs on five walks.

The Sun Devils end the 2012 season with a three-game Pac-12 series against Arizona in Tucson May 25-27. The games on May 25 and 26 are set for 6 p.m., while the one on May 27 will start at 12 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live by the Sun Devil Sports Network on the Fan AM 1060.

Game notes: Benjamin extended his hitting streak to seven games and has reached base successfully in 13 straight games...the Sun Devils wore their third different jersey combination of the weekend (black and copper on Friday, new white and maroon on Saturday, and maroon and gold on Sunday)...Aplin struck out in the fifth inning, ending his streak of 113 consecutive conference at-bats without a strikeout...left-hander Matt Dunbar gave up one unearned run and struck out one on no hits in 2/3 innings.