ASU softball prepares for 4-game series vs. Portland State

Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo in the Feb. 15 game against Michigan State. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo in the Feb. 15 game against Michigan State. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

The ASU softball team will adjust from tournament play to facing an individual school in a four-game series against Portland State from Feb. 22 to Feb. 24.

The Vikings (4-7) underwent an interesting first two weekends to start the season. They competed at the Kajikawa Classic, which ASU (12-0) hosted. Portland State defeated No. 20 Kentucky, but as its record indicated, lost to most of the other teams it played.

“They beat some good teams,” ASU coach Clint Myers said. “(We) can’t take them lightly.”

Myers said the Sun Devils do not have film of Portland State, and his team must make adjustments on the fly. Playing against a singular team allows ASU to watch film and prepare game plans to attack certain hitters and pitchers.

“We (will) have a little scouting report after the first game,” Myers said. “Then we’ve got two games to scout on, so we have tendencies and things like that.”

In the series, one key for ASU will be how they hit Viking junior pitcher Anna Bertrand, who pitched well last year. She went 23-13 with a 1.79 ERA.

Bertrand hasn’t quite performed as well in 2013 with a 2-4 record with a 4.20 ERA, but she should see a lot of innings in the series.

On the mound, ASU will have to slow down senior infielder Carly McEachran, who leads the Vikings in hits, runs, RBI, home runs and slugging percentage.

Still, Myers emphasized that the only thing the Sun Devils can control is themselves.

“We can’t worry about what the opposition is going to do,” he said. “What we really, truly concern ourselves with is dealing with things that we prepared for.”

ASU is starting to pick up momentum with its gaudy 12-0 record and a No. 3 ranking. Most of its victories have occurred in a blowout fashion. On the season, ASU has outscored the opposition 89-8.

Players warned against being too caught up in themselves.

“Any team could get beat on any day,” sophomore catcher Amber Freeman said.

Not every game in the early season was a blowout. ASU trailed after the fifth inning against Northern Iowa on Feb. 15. Heading into the final frame, the game was still tied. Later that night, the Sun Devils and Michigan State were tied in the fourth inning.

“We had a slow start the other night, and I thought we were going to get beat,” junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo said. “It’s up in the air for any team. Anybody can really come out (and win) one day when we’re on an off-day type thing,”

For ASU, the switch to individual play will be short-lived. After the four-game series against Portland State, ASU will play in three consecutive tournaments.

ASU still hasn’t left Tempe this season, and the team is about halfway through its 27-game homestand to start the season.

 

Reach the reporter at justin.janssen@asu.edu