The Pac-12’s Player of the Week delivered when it counted the most.
Junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle jumpstarted the ASU softball team’s rally trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning to Northern Iowa with a single to center field. Coyle then untied the game in the seventh with an RBI single to left field. ASU held on to win 5-3.
“We talk about it all the time, good teams find ways to win,” ASU coach Clint Myers said. “We faced a good team, the pitcher was throwing well. … Key people stepped up.
For most of the game, Northern Iowa junior pitcher Jamie Fisher shut down the ASU offense. The Sun Devils didn’t advance a runner to second base until the sixth inning.
Myers said ASU’s hitters changed their approach after the fifth inning.
“There was way too many balls in the air (early in the game),” Myers said. “We started getting on top (of the ball) hitting ground balls, line drives, and, all the sudden, we’re starting to score runs.”
In the sixth inning, with two outs and two runners on base, sophomore third baseman Haley Steele lined a hit into center field. The next batter, junior designated player Lucy Aubrecht, dropped a soft liner into left field, giving ASU a 2-1 lead.
Steele scored ASU’s third run on a heads-up play when NIU’s catcher went out to talk to the pitcher. Time wasn’t called, Steele saw the plate wasn’t covered and dashed home to give ASU a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, ASU gave the lead up right away. ASU junior pitchers Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue allowed home runs to back-to-back hitters. Escobedo then struck out the final six hitters she faced.
In the seventh, Coyle delivered the go-ahead hit. Two batters later, sophomore catcher Amber Freeman plated Coyle to give ASU the decisive 5-3 victory.
ASU tops Michigan State 9-2
It didn’t take quite as long for ASU’s bats to awaken against the Spartans.
Sophomore outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio led off the second inning with a homer. The Sun Devils picked up another run in the frame off a sacrifice fly.
In the fourth inning, Escobedo gave up the lead when Michigan State third baseman Jayme O’Bryant hit a two-run home run that barely cleared the pushed-back fences at Farrington.
ASU’s offense responded, as it did all day long when adversity struck. Aubrecht plated the go-ahead run with an RBI double. A fourth ASU run scored on a fielding error. Freeman put ASU up 6-2 with an RBI double that scored two runners. In the sixth inning, Freeman launched a mammoth three-run homerun, putting the Sun Devils up for good.
“To start the day I was very out of control, swinging too hard,” Freeman said. Once I cut down my swing, that’s when the line drives came.”
ASU surrendered five runs in the two games. In their first seven games of the season, ASU allowed just two. Myers said Escobedo is a perfectionist.
“It was an off day,” Escobedo said. “I was very disappointed in myself, because I played so well last weekend. Tomorrow’s a new day. It happens.”
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