The No. 3 ASU softball team is known for ist stellar pitching; however, its offensive prowess was on full display Saturday.
In victories over Illinois-Chicago and Illinois State, the Sun Devils scored 22 runs in the doubleheader total. ASU was even able to rack up 15 runs in a run rule shortened five-inning game against Illinois-Chicago.
With ASU leading 7-0 in the fifth inning, junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle and freshman pinch hitter Katee Aguirre each hit grand slams in the frame.
Illinois-Chicago pitcher Devin Miller had difficulties finding the strike zone. When Miller did, she was pounded by ASU’s sluggers.
Miller walked four of her eight batters in the second inning. A fielding error in the second allowed ASU to plate two more runs.
“You don’t give good teams extra opportunities,” ASU coach Clint Myers said. “When they do that, we’re going to take advantage of it.”
In the fourth inning, junior outfielder Alix Johnson, who has been buried in a three-for-30 slump, lined a two-run double off the left field wall. Sophomore catcher Amber Freeman drove Johnson home.
After Coyle’s grand slam with two outs in the fifth, Myers went to his bench and Illinois Chicago made a pitching change.
The grand slam was Coyle’s team-leading sixth home run of the season. Pitchers have been more selective in throwing strikes to Coyle because of the power she possesses.
For the game, Coyle was walked three times, including once when the bases were loaded.
“I try to be a disciplined hitter and not leave the zone too much,” Coyle said. “If they’re not going to give me a pitch to hit, I’d rather not go out of the zone early and try to swing at a ball.”
ASU’s next three batters all reached, and Aguirre cleared the bases with a grand slam of her own.
ASU defeats Illinois State 7-1
ASU’s bats remained hot in their 7-1 win over Illinois State in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
In the second inning, with ASU already leading 2-0, Johnson belted a three-run homer to left. In the third, sophomore third baseman Haley Steele and sophomore first baseman Bethany Kemp smacked back-to-back home runs.
ASU didn’t score again in the game, but the damage was already done.
Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo did allow a run in the third inning, when she threw a wild pitch.
Other than the small blemish, it was another day at the office for Escobedo. She struck out 14 batters, one shy of her season-best and two shy of her career-high.
“Like we said last night, I feel pretty comfortable anytime Dallas is in the circle,” Myers said.
Myers hopes the team will remain unbeaten to start the season.
“Tomorrow’s the last game of this tournament. We’re hoping to play our best softball game of the year. Our most important game of the season comes tomorrow,” Myers said.
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