ASU softball meets USF for three-game series

(2.26) Softball
ROUND 'EM: Sophomore outfielder Aurora Pangallo hustles around the bases during ASU’s 14-0 victory over Rutgers. ASU will face USF this weekend.(Photo by Michael Arellano)
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Thursday, February 26, 2009
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After playing its first 11 games in two weekends, the No. 7 ASU softball team gets a bit of a breather this weekend with a three-game series against South Florida.

But the Sun Devils are not sitting back for an easy weekend, and they know they have to remain focused on winning every game.

Junior centerfielder Lesley Rogers said that while it will be nice having a lighter schedule this weekend, the team isn’t looking at the series as any kind of break.

“We look at it like any other weekend,” Rogers said. “A game is a game.”

Coach Clint Myers had a similar feeling about the team’s first weekend playing just one opponent.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Myers said. “I’ll be getting here at the same time and getting out of here at the same time.”

Myers said he likes tournaments because it gives the team an opportunity to see more opponents, but Rogers said it is sometimes nice to worry about just one.

“You can prepare for that specific team,” Rogers said. “You don’t have to worry about multiple teams and multiple approaches.”

ASU (9-2) will have to look at multiple aspects of its approach against the Bulls.

USF (5-4) is a team that has thus far had trouble producing runs. The Bulls have totaled 35 runs through nine games, an average of 3.9 runs per game.

Compared to ASU’s 111 runs through 11 games, USF may be overmatched on offense. But while USF has struggled to score runs, it has been efficient limiting them, allowing more than five runs just once, against No. 3 Florida.

With strong pitching from freshman Lindsey Richardson (3-1, 2.13 ERA, 36 strikeouts) and sophomore Capri Catalano (2-0, 0.81 ERA), USF matches up well against ASU senior Megan Elliott (4-1, 3.16 ERA) and sophomore Hillary Bach (3-0, 2.23 ERA).

Myers said Tuesday he would wait and see after the first two games whether freshman Sam Parlich (2-1, 1.31 ERA) would pitch in the series finale.

Myers is looking for improvements in the team’s approach.

The ASU defense has been shaky at times, such as when one of five errors against Illinois State ultimately allowed ISU to steal the game.

“We kind of beat ourselves,” Rogers said. “We haven’t played our best yet.”

Myers was also putting a strong emphasis this week on not leaving runners on base, something he has stressed constantly. ASU left 34 runners stranded last weekend and 78 on the season.

With the Sun Devils sitting on a 9-2 record, Myers is not completely satisfied.

“I’m happy about the ‘9’, but we lost two games that we feel we had the better team in,” Myers said. “Great teams go out and have great practices and great games. For us to be called a great team, that’s exactly what we’ve got to do.”

ASU opens the series 7 p.m. Friday at Farrington Stadium followed by a 7 p.m. game Saturday and an 11 a.m. game on Sunday.

Reach the reporter at tlockman@asu.edu