Caporuscio sets tone for Sun Devils in Littlewood Classic

Elizabeth Caporuscio watches the ball after making contact in a game on Feb. 10. Caporuscio’s walk-off home run against Iowa gave the Sun Devils momentum in the Littlewood Classic. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

Freshman centerfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio’s three-run walk-off home run against Iowa on Friday night breathed new life into the Sun Devils’ sails, carrying them through the Littlewood Classic last weekend.

ASU (10-2) went undefeated for the weekend and beat Central Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa State, Illinois State and Iowa. Caporuscio’s home run was the clear turning point in the team’s momentum.

Down 2-0 to the Hawkeyes, ASU’s back was against the wall, and the team was on the brink of another heartbreaking upset.

Then, with one swing of the bat, the freshman centerfielder cemented herself as one of the team’s stars in a talented outfield.

It was a confidence-building win for a team that hadn’t come from behind and won this year.

Before the five-run seventh inning, it looked as if sophomore pitcher Dallas Escobedo was going to record her second loss of the young season.

Without any run support for the first six innings, Escobedo pitched a gem. It took the Hawkeyes five innings to get a hit off of the underclassman, who has started off the season 3-1.

Senior Hillary Bach pitched well throughout the whole weekend. She still has not let up an earned run throughout the 32.1 innings this season and is 5-0.

Bach showed her dominance against Central Michigan on Friday and Minnesota on Saturday, allowing just nine hits and recorded 11 strikeouts.

The Sun Devils’ bats came alive in both games to give Bach a comfortable margin to work with. Sophomore outfielder Bailey Wigness continued her hot streak, getting on base two or more times in four of the five games this weekend. Wigness, who started off the season batting at the No. 9 spot in the order, is now battling leadoff.

Her outfield companions, Caporuscio and senior Annie Lockwood, have also produced offensively this season. They lead the team in runs batted in with 15 and 14.

Sophomore outfielder Alix Johnson battled back from an injury and received her first chance at playing time this season. She made her mark in her first at bat, hitting a two-run double to right field in the team’s win over Iowa State.

The team’s biggest question was at third base, and it was hesitantly addressed this tournament.

Both freshman Haley Steele and junior Danielle Muniz received playing time at the hot corner, and coach Clint Myers hinted the Sun Devils might give more players a chance to start there. So far, the position has accumulated three errors in a program renowned for its defense.

ASU ended the last three games against Minnesota, Iowa State and Illinois State early, invoking the eight-run mercy rule.

 

Reach the reporter at jjmckelv@asu.edu

 

Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.