ASU softball offensive outburst over NC State leads to third straight victory
The ASU softball team finished its third game of the season with another offensive clinic, run-ruling the North Carolina State Wolfpack 10-1 after five innings Friday night.
Sophomore right-hander Dallas Escobedo started in the circle and threw for the entire game, giving up only two hits throughout the five innings. She earned another seven strikeouts, extending her count to 21 after just two games, throwing at least one per Wolfpack offensive outing.
“I felt good in the bullpen—throwing hard,” Escobedo said. “Getting out here under the lights it just all came together.” Escobedo did suffer one blemish on the night, a towering homerun from NC State senior infielder Leah Jones that soared over the scoreboard in left field, giving NC State an early 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The Sun Devils responded in the bottom of the second with a double from junior outfielder Elizabeth Caporuscio. Freshman infielder Chelsea Gonzales pushed Caporuscio to third, where she scored following a slap up the middle from sophomore infielder Nikki Girard. Senior infielder Cheyenne Coyle hit a bomb of her own, missing a home run by inches, scoring senior outfielder Bailey Wigness and Girard for a two-RBI double, ending the second with an ASU lead 3-1.
The Wolfpack offense fell asleep against Escobedo, who never faced more than four batters in an inning, while the Sun Devil offense continued to thrive, pushing for extra bases on any opportunity and hammering the ball almost every at bat.
“We thought we’d be in tough tonight against the pitcher,” coach Craig Nicholson said. “We made some good adjustments at the plate, and made her get her ball up in the zone, and when we did that we were very successful.”
Junior infielder Bethany Kemp hit a long home run to left of her own, scoring both her and Caporuscio and extending the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third.
In the bottom of the fourth following a two-strikeout inning from Escobedo, senior outfielder Alix Johnson, junior catcher Amber Freeman, and junior infielder Haley Steele hit three consecutive doubles. Caporuscio walked, loading the bases for Kemp.
The bottom of the fourth began with a Coyle walk, followed by a Johnson double that left them at second and third. Freeman slapped a double of her own, scoring both Coyle and Johnson, extending the lead to 7-1. Steele hit a third consecutive double for the Sun Devils, pushing Freeman to 3rd, followed by a Caporuscio walk to load the bases for Kemp. Kemp would single to score one more run before ending the inning with an 8-1 lead.
The run rule activates after a team is eight or more runs ahead after five innings. Going into the top of the fifth, the Wolfpack was unable to create any buffer room before ASU’s turn to bat. With a seven-run lead ASU only needed one run to win as Coyle led off with a double. Johnson singled, then stole second for runners at second and third.
Coyle was caught in a pickle trying to score after a shot to the pitcher. Coyle was called out at the plate, but moved the runner to second. Johnson, at third, and Freeman, at second, fell into their own pickles off a hit from Steele, but the Wolfpack erred, scoring both Sun Devils and ending the game.
The Sun Devils begin their season with three straight wins going into the second half of the weekend at the Kajikawa Classic.
“3-0 as a new team with a new coach what better feeling could you have," Johnson said. "I know coach is really happy and it’s giving us fuel to push for every game."
The Sun Devils play Saturday against Penn State at 4:30 p.m. in an attempt to push to a 4-0 start of the season.
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