Michigan hands Arizona State first shutout of season with 2-0 victory
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sierra Romero hit a two-run shot for her 23rd home run of the season, Sara Driesenga threw a seven-hit shutout and eighth-seeded Michigan beat Arizona State 2-0 early Sunday in a Women's College World Series elimination game.
Romero's third-inning smash against starter Dallas Escobedo (30-6) landed on a walkway at the front of the right-field bleachers.
"I was seeing the ball really well off Dallas," Romero said. "She's a great pitcher, and I just took the ball where she pitched it."
Arizona State, the 2008 and 2011 national champions, was shut out for the first time all season. Driesenga (31-8) allowed seven singles and walked three as Michigan (51-12) advanced to another elimination game later Sunday against Washington.
The first pitch wasn't until six minutes before midnight because the preceding game between Florida and Nebraska went 15 innings. It didn't get over until nearly 2:30 a.m. Under NCAA rules, games cannot start after midnight.
"These are college kids. This is their normal hour," Wolverines coach Carol Hutchins said. "The coaches, not so much. But these are college kids, and they thrive at night."
The fifth-seeded Sun Devils (50-12) failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. Amber Freeman grounded into a double play and, after cleanup hitter Haley Steele was walked intentionally, Bethany Kemp struck out swinging.
Arizona State also left the bases loaded in the third when Steele grounded out to end the inning. The Sun Devils had ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, at 6.8 runs per game.
"We had people in scoring position and couldn't get it done," coach Clint Myers said. "We didn't do the timely hitting. That's what wins you ballgames."
Escobedo, the team's ace as a freshman on the national title team two years ago, walked four and gave up three hits in 2.1 innings.
"I was very anxious out there. I feel like I was trying too hard to put it in the zone when I should have just did what I've been doing all season," she said. "I don't know. It wasn't me."