The ASU softball team extended its winning streak to 13 games after defeating Portland State 6-5 in a marathon 12-inning game.
You wouldn’t know ASU won by talking to ASU coach Clint Myers.
“I’m happy we won, but the numbers are not good in our favor,” Myers said. “We left 13 people on base, had opportunities to score multitudes of times, and we didn’t execute. … In the first nine innings, we had seven changeups put in play with less than two strikes weakly hit.”
In the 12th inning, ASU walked off with a win when junior designated player Lucy Aubrecht lined a base hit to left. Aubrecht stepped to up to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. All Aubrecht needed to do was put the ball in play and play the odds.
“I have the upmost confidence in myself, so I knew I was going to get a pitch (to hit),” Aubrecht said.
As Myers alluded to, ASU stranded 13 runners, including stranding runners in seven consecutive innings. Sophomore outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio reached base six times in the game. Caporuscio homered and started the 12th inning rally with a base-hit.
Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo pitched all 12 innings in an astounding 210 pitches. Escobedo allowed six hits, five runs, five walks and struck out a career-high 19 batters. In 11-plus innings, her counterpart, Portland State pitcher Anna Bertran, threw 222 pitches.
Despite the high pitch count, no one was throwing in ASU’s bullpen in the latter part of the game. Escobedo kept rearing back, finding extra energy as she didn’t appear to tire out.
“I’m not allowed to say that word (‘tired’) because it’s a state of mind as (ASU pitching coach) Chuck (Myers) would say,” Escobedo said. “I’ll throw as many (pitches) as we need to get a win.”
In the second inning, ASU jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Escobedo couldn’t keep the ball in the park. Portland State took the lead in the fourth after hitting their second two-run homer off Escobedo.
“After the first inning or two, their swings had changed,” Escobedo said. “Early in the game, they were very slow and were late on the ball. All of the sudden, they started hacking and when you leave pitches down the middle, they tend do go out.”
ASU picked up a run in the fifth, but the game settled down until the ninth inning when Portland State re-took the lead with its third home run off Escobedo, a solo shot.
In the bottom of the frame, ASU had runners at second and third with one out. Senior second baseman Sam Parlich hit a fly ball to left field.
Freshman pinch runner Allie Butterfield crossed home plate on the sacrifice, but sophomore outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio was tagged out at first. The double play ended the inning. ASU picked up the tying run because the runner scored before the trailing runner was tagged out.
The momentum clearly shifted in the Sun Devils favor after tying the game in the ninth. Aubrecht sent the passionate ASU fans home happy with a walk-off hit after five innings of free softball.
Reach the reporter at Justin.Janssen@asu.edu