ASU softball goes undefeated in Kajikawa Classic

Sophomore Haley Steele bats against Boise State in the Kajikawa Classic 2013 on Sunday. Click on photo for slideshow of tournament. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

Sophomore Haley Steele bats against Boise State in the Kajikawa Classic 2013 on Sunday. Click on photo for slideshow of tournament. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

To say the Kajikawa Classic was a pretty good weekend for the ASU softball pitchers would be an understatement.

In seven games total ASU allowed just two runs, one of which was unearned.

On Saturday night, junior pitcher Mackenzie Popesque weaved her way in and out of jams continuously in ASU’s 7-0 win over Western Michigan.

In the second inning, the Broncos loaded the bases with just one out. Popesque was struggling with her command and the ASU coaching staff went out to talk to her. Freshman pitcher Alexis Cooper was warming up in the bullpen.

“Well again, you have to throw strikes if you want to pitch,” Myers said. “She was struggling.”

After the mound visit Popesque retired the next two hitters. The Broncos continued to put base runners on but could not cash in with runners in scoring position.

Popesque allowed four hits, five free passes and zero runs. Despite the control problems Popesque matched a career-high with eight strikeouts.

Offensively, ASU took the lead right away.

Junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle and designated player Amber Freeman each hit 2-run homers in the first inning. ASU added a run in the second and two more in the seventh to increase the score to 7-0, the final margin.

Arguably the strongest team ASU faced was Kentucky Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats were the only team ASU faced over the weekend to make the postseason last year and defeated preseason No. 3 California earlier in the week.

However, Kentucky had problems all night stopping ASU’s explosive bats.

In the fourth inning ASU put the game out of reach. In the span of three hitters, ASU’s lead ballooned from 3-0 to 8-0.

Sophomore outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio drove in two runs with a double to deep left-center field. The next batter was sophomore third baseman Haley Steele who drove home Caporuscio with an single. Finally, Freeman capped off the inning with a 2-run homer. ASU held on to the lead with an 8-1 victory.

Freeman had a monster day with four hits, including two home runs and five RBIs in the doubleheader Saturday.

“I just wanted to calm down get a good pitch,” Freeman said. “That was what my mindset was today (Saturday) to just chill out.”

 

ASU perfect on Sunday

Against Bradley on Sunday, ASU’s offense was stagnant most of the morning.

The Sun Devils and the Braves produced just four hits each. The difference was what each team did with those hits.

ASU’s first hit of the game came when Coyle hit her fifth home run of the season, a solo shot. In the sixth inning ASU added some much-needed insurance runs.

With runners at second and third and one out, senior second baseman Sam Parlich hit a grounder in the infield. Pinch-runner Allie Butterfield was just able to beat the throw home.

On the next play sophomore first baseman Bethany Kemp hit a sacrifice fly. ASU held after Escobedo earned the save by striking out the only two hitters she faced.

In ASU’s final game of the Kajikawa Classic, everything went right. The Sun Devils didn’t allow a single hit and scored 10 runs themselves.

Junior outfielder Alix Johnson and junior catcher Lucy Aubrecht each hit home runs. ASU accumulated 17 hits and five hitters reached base from walks.

“It’s kind of fun when everyone gets a hit,” Aubrecht said. “The momentum of everyone else kind of carried through. So it was an exciting game.”

 

A slideshow of tournament can be found here.

Reach the reporter at justin.janssen@asu.edu