It was surprising to see coach Clint Myers put freshman Jennifer Soria in a position to win a game.
With the score knotted at three runs apiece in the final frame against Portland State on Sunday, Myers inserted the true freshman into the game in place of junior designated player Lucy Aubrecht.
It turned out the be the right decision. With two outs and the bases loaded, Soria lined a single to right field, extending ASU’s perfect season.
Among ASU hitters with seven or more at-bats on the season, Aubrecht ranks second in batting average sporting a .452 clip.
Earlier in the series, Aubrecht delivered the walk-off hit for ASU on Friday night against the same pitcher who was currently on the mound. That made the substitution more interesting.
But Aubrecht was 0-for-3 against Portland State junior pitcher Anna Bertrand Sunday. In the sixth inning, with ASU trailing 3-1 Aubrecht couldn’t bring a runner home from third with less than two outs.
“Lucy came through big with the base hit in the other night,” Myers said. “She wasn’t going to see the same kind of pitches. She had struggled earlier.”
In two pinch-hitting roles Saturday, Soria came through with a hit and a walk.
“Jen had a good day,” Myers said. “She had good at-bats in the last few. I’m not afraid to let somebody else do it. It’s just one of those things that you play hunches and you work for a few things. This is a team, and you better be ready, because you may have the game on the line when you have your next opportunity.”
Makis makes debut
In the 19-2 walloping of Portland State in Saturday’s early game, many players further down on ASU’s depth chart received an opportunity to play.
Redshirt freshman Jenna Makis was one of those players. In two innings, Makis allowed three hits, no runs and struck out one batter. Myers said this kind of exposure is good for the team, so it doesn’t have rely so much on junior pitchers Dallas Escobedo and Mackenzie Popescue.
“We’re trying like heck to get everybody some innings,” Myers said. “They deserve it. They work just as hard as everybody else, so we were able to get Jen two innings, Coop one inning. We’re slowly starting to get the ability to make it not just a Dallas (and) Mack show. I thought she threw very, very well.”
Heading into the weekend series against Portland State, ASU hadn’t taken many chances stealing bases. The Sun Devils have taken extra bases on base hits and doubles, but that doesn’t show up in any stat books.
Before the Portland State series, which spanned 12 games, the Sun Devils stole three bases. Junior outfielder Bailey Wigness stole all of them.
In the four game series against the Vikings, ASU swiped five bases. One steal came from Wigness, another from junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle and three from junior outfielder Alix Johnson.
Myers said that the team decided before the series that certain players were going to able to steal against Portland State.
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