Junior outfielder Alix Johnson officially broke out of her early season slump.
With four hits against East Carolina (7-11) and the go-ahead RBI against North Carolina (14-6), Johnson was the main catalyst in the ASU softball team’s (21-0) two wins Saturday.
Johnson led the East Carolina game off with a home run and she just kept hitting.
In the second inning, Johnson singled on a chopper. The next hitter, junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle, homered to center, giving ASU a commanding 7-0 lead.
In the third, Johnson hit an RBI single to right. In her final at-bat of the afternoon, Johnson launched a three-run homer.
Coyle went 3-for-3 at the plate and junior outfielder Bailey Wigness recorded two hits for ASU.
With the win over ECU, ASU is now off to their best start in program history. The streak was extended with a victory over North Carolina in the nightcap.
“It feels amazing,” Johnson said. “We’ve worked really hard up until now. The score is showing you all the hard work that we’ve put in.”
ASU comes from behind against North Carolina
In the nightcap against UNC, ASU did something uncommon. They came from behind.
Junior pitcher Dallas Escobedo allowed a two-run homer in the second. But the mood didn’t change in ASU’s dugout. The players were still clapping and were giving positive encouragement.
With two outs in the third inning, ASU’s bats came to life against 2012 ACC pitcher of the year junior Lori Spingola.
Sophomore catcher Amber Freeman homered, giving a jolt of energy to the Sun Devils. The next five hitters for ASU all reached base.
Senior second baseman Sam Parlich delivered a clutch two-run double to right-center with the bases loaded.
Junior catcher Lucy Aubrecht was thrown out at home on the play, but the damage had been done with a four-run inning.
“I think we were very well prepared,” Wigness said. “Our scouting report was very good. The key for us this year has been our communication. First thing Alix (Johnson) does when she comes in is says, ‘Hey this is what she’s throwing.’”
After its star pitcher gave up the lead, in the third inning it bounced back. Redshirt freshman Jenna Kelly hit a two-run moonshot to right, tying the game.
In the bottom of the frame, Wigness led off the inning with a single and advanced all the way to third on an error. Johnson drove her in with a sacrifice fly.
“Every inning it’s important to get the leadoff (hitter) on, and if you can take advantage of errors and get extra bases, then it takes away having to bunt and taking away an out,” Wigness said. “It’s always easy when you have Alix hitting behind you.”
After ASU took the lead 5-4, Escobedo didn’t allow another batter to reach base. The Sun Devils picked up two insurance runs in the sixth and won 7-4 to start the season 21-0.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way we played tonight,” coach Clint Myers said. “The 21 is a number. How we played is a lot more important because we played Arizona State softball.”
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