Arizona State blasts into WCWS
Sun Devils bounce UL-Lafayette with eight HR in two games
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Home runs fueled Arizona State (51-9) as the Sun Devils earned their 10th appearance at the Women’s College World Series by topping Louisiana-Lafayette (53-6) twice on Friday– logging 9-2 and 8-0 (6 inn.) victories to capture the Tempe Super Regional series.
On the night, Sam Parlich and Alix Johnson each had two homers. Johnson’s pair came in the nightcap while Parlich’s were in the first contest. As a team, the Sun Devils rallied for eight home runs in the final two games.
Hillary Bach (21-1) captured the first win, going the distance with one strikeout and just two walks. Dallas Escobedo finished Louisiana-Lafayette’s season when she took the third game of the series, fanning seven batters in her 6.0 inning outing.
The Sun Devils jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of Game 1 when Amber Freeman knocked out a two-run shot to left, plating herself and Katelyn Boyd. In the third, a double from Haley Steele made it a 4-0 cushion with Boyd and Johnson scoring on the play.
ASU was not done in the frame, adding three additional runs for a 7-0 early lead. Annie Lockwood homered to left to bring home Steele – marking Lockwood's 10th homer of the year and 42nd of her career. Parlich capped the frame with a long ball of her own, a solo shot as ASU finished the stanza with five runs on four hits.
In the bottom of the inning, Louisiana’s Brianna Cherry hit an RBI-single to right to plate Katie Smith, breaking up the shutout at 7-1.
With bases loaded in the fourth, Nikole Afusia walked to push home Boyd to make it an 8-1 ballgame. UL-L capitalized on a Sun Devil error in the fifth to chip at the lead, closing within 8-2 when Nerissa Myers scored on the play, unearned.
It was lights out as Parlich launched her second home run of the game in the top of the seventh for what would be the final score of 9-2. It was her second multiple-home run game as a Sun Devil.
Ashley Brignac garnered the loss for UL-L, dropping her final record of the year to 23-4. Brignac struck out nine but walked six in the outing. Bach picked up the win to improve to 21-1.
In Game 2, timely and consistent hitting allowed the Sun Devils to run away with an 8-0 shutout in six innings, while clutch pitching from Escobedo kept all but one of UL-L’s six base runners from advancing past second. Escobedo struck out five on the night for her 23rd win of the season (23-6).
ASU again scored two runs in the first frame, this time on back-to-back home runs from Johnson and Steele. Elizabeth Caporuscio got in on the home run action, hitting her 16th of the season in the second, bringing home Parlich and giving the club a 4-0 lead. Caporuscio is second on the team in homers and is tied for 16th all-time in the category at ASU.
Three runs on three hits in the fifth pushed the Sun Devils to a 7-0 cushion after Johnson hit her second homer of the game with a three-run jack to right center that brought around Boyd and Talor Haro. Steele sealed the mercy-rule win in the bottom of the sixth on a single to right, allowing Haro to come home after she reach on a single to left three batters earlier.
Jordan Wallace took the loss for the Ragin’ Cajuns, dropping her to 27-2 overall.