Arizona State rolls past LSU
Johnson spearheads Sun Devil’s offense with third-inning homer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Arizona State advanced to the NCAA Semifinals with a 6-0 victory against LSU on Saturday evening at the Women’s College World Series. The Sun Devils (53-10) advance to face Oklahoma at noon on Sunday (ESPN) and will have to beat the Sooners twice to advance to the Championship Series. LSU concludes its season with a 40-25 record.
After two scoreless innings, the Sun Devils started piling on the offense in the top of the third inning. Elizabeth Caporuscio led off with a line-drive single that tipped off the glove of LSU starter Rachele Fico, but was unable to be fielded to avoid the hit.
|WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES|
Getting to Know
• LSU | UC | USF | OU | UO | ASU | UT | UA
• LSU’s long, winding road
• Two better than one for Bears
• How a Kiwi changed the Ducks
• Bulls following plan to the letter
• Previewing the Women's College World Series
Katelyn Boyd then reached on a bunt single before Alix Johnson plated three runs on a home run, her 13th of the season, clearing the fence in right center for a 3-0 Sun Devil lead.
“I was looking for [the outside pitch],” Johnson said. “It makes it a lot easier when you are focused in on one side of the plate and you’re expecting that pitch to be there. It was a good pitch to hit and thankfully I hit it out.”
In the bottom of the fourth, LSU advanced a runner to third base as Simone Heyward put down a one-out bunt single, went to second on a ground out and went to third on an illegal pitch, one of several thrown by ASU pitcher Hillary Bach in the frame. After Juliana Santos was hit by a pitch, but Allison Falcon grounded out to third to end the threat.
The Sun Devils then poured on the offense, batting around in the top of the fifth inning. The two-out rally opened with a single by Johnson, who went on to seal second base. After Amber Freeman walked, Annie Lockwood singled to left field, loading the bases.
Fico was replaced by Brittany Mack with the bases loaded, but Sam Parlich then singled to left, bringing home the two lead runners, as everyone advanced an additional base thanks to an outfield throwing error. ASU would re-load the bases, but could not push additional runs across, and the teams went to the bottom of the fifth with the Sun Devils leading 6-0.
“We take great pride that one through nine are all complete players,” ASU head coach Clint Myers said. “I believe that this is a team and you have a different hero each night. They pull for each other.”
The Tigers were unable to put together another serious threat, and were eliminated from the WCWS. Fico took the loss in the circle for LSU (20-13), striking out two, walking two and allowing six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Mack pitched the final 2.1 innings of the contest, striking out one, walking two and allowing two hits. Two of LSU’s four hits came from Heyward, who finished 2-for-3 in the game with a pair of singles.
For Arizona State, Bach struck out two and walked one, scattering four hits. Johnson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, all coming on her third-inning home run. Sam Parlich also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 in the game.
• In a pre-game ceremony, five pioneers of women’s sports were recognized on-field in honor of the 40th anniversary of Title IX being signed into law. Those five were Marita Hynes, former Senior Woman Administrator, Oklahoma; Margie Wright, retired head coach, Fresno State; Sue Enquist, retired head coach and former student-athlete at UCLA; Jennie Finch, Olympic Gold Medalist and NCAA Champion at Arizona; and Kaitlin Cochran, NCAA Champion at Arizona State.
• Johnson’s third-inning home run for Arizona Stat was the first home run allowed by LSU pitching in postseason, and the first since a home run by Kentucky’s Brittany Cervantes on May 4.
• LSU’s power deserted the Tigers in postseason play. They played their last 11 games of the season without hitting a home run.
• Arizona State has never advanced to the Championship Game/Series through the losers bracket. The Sun Devils went 5-0 in both of their NCAA Championship seasons (2008, 2011)
• Saturday’s loss to Arizona State was the first time in 10 games that LSU failed to score a run. The last time LSU was shut out was May 10 when the Tigers lost to then-No. 7 Florida, 1-0.
• LSU was shut out 12 times this season. Seven of those games were against top-10 opponents. In five of those 12 shutouts, LSU lost by one run.