ASU softball tops Portland State 4-3 in dramatic fashion

Junior pitcher Mackenzie Popescue launches a pitch against Portland State during a, "Pink Game," on Feb. 23. Popescue and the rest of the ASU softball team have gotten off to incredible 16-0 start. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Junior pitcher Mackenzie Popescue launches a pitch against Portland State during a, “Pink Game,” on Feb. 23. Popescue and the rest of the ASU softball team have gotten off to incredible 16-0 start. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

It was only fitting that the ASU softball team walked off with a win against Portland State.

The weekend began with an ASU (16-0) walk-off win over Portland State(4-11) and finished with another final at-bat victory against the Vikings.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman pinch hitter Jennifer Soria delivered the game-winning hit. The ball barely stayed fair and landed just beyond Portland State right fielder Candice Orozco’s reach.

“I was focusing on hitting the ball on the ground, putting it in play,” Soria said. “(I was) definitely nervous.”

Early in the game, both offenses had trouble scoring runs. ASU scored first in the fifth inning when senior second baseman Sam Parlich hit her first of two home runs on the afternoon.

In the sixth inning, ASU looked rattled and shell-shocked. Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo allowed home runs to the first two hitters that inning.

“You have a windy day in which stuff can happen,” Myers said. “Both those balls were hit well. One of the pitches was a very good pitcher’s pitch. The other one, she made a mistake out over the plate and ended up paying the price for it.”

Three more hitters that inning reached on poor defensive plays. Sophomore third baseman Haley Steele made two errors in the inning.

On a sacrifice bunt attempt sandwiched between Steele’s two errors, Escobedo fielded the bunt cleanly. However, she looked at second base, decided not to throw there, then threw the ball to first base where the runner beat out the throw. With the bases loaded after Steele’s second error of the inning, Escobedo walked in a run, which ended her day.

Junior pitcher Mackenzie Popescue entered the game in relief and escaped the jam.

“Those two girls are great pitchers,” Myers said. “When those two are in the circle, you expect great performances.”

In the sixth, ASU stranded a runner at third with one out. The Sun Devils still trailed 3-1 entering the final inning.

The two-run deficit was ASU’s largest of the season. ASU trailed in only two other games this season.

In the seventh inning, Parlich led off with her second home run of the game. Three batters later, junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle tied the game with an RBI single to center. Junior outfielder Bailey Wigness overran the stop sign rounding third. It didn’t matter.

With two outs in the inning, sophomore outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio and Steele walked to load the bases for Soria.

Soria, the third-string first baseman, was one of the more unlikely candidates to be put in that situation with the game on the line. She made the most of the opportunity by delivering the game-winning hit in the clutch.

“It was exciting,” Parlich said. “We never stop until the last out of the game is made. We know that 1-9 we’re capable of coming back whatever the situation is.”

 

Reach the reporter at justin.janssen@asu.edu