TEMPE, ARIZ. – With Dartmouth trailing, 2-0, in the fifth, #4/4 Arizona State tacked on six runs to defeat the Big Green softball team, 8-0, in a shortened five-inning game at the NCAA Regionals on Friday afternoon.
Arizona State’s Dallas Escobedo (23-7) allowed one hit to the Big Green (31-18) in the third inning with a single up the middle by junior Megan Averitt. The Sun Devils (45-10-1) ace also issued two walks to freshman Karen Chaw, but fanned eight Big Green hitters in the process.
In the top of the second, Chaw became the first Big Green member to reach base in the NCAA Tournament with a six-pitch walk.
Junior Kristen Rumley (18-8) was as impressive inside the circle retired nine straight Sun Devil batters after surrendering a two-run homer to Chelsea Gonzales and then a single to Nikki Girard. Gonzales’ homer sailed over the center field wall to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.
Dartmouth picked up its first hit in the tournament on Averitt’s single in the third. In the following inning, Chaw walked for the second time but was unable to advance past first base.
In the Arizona State fifth, Alix Johnson led off the frame with an infield double to second base. The hit was nearly out of the reach of senior Kara Curosh as the ball hit off the tip of her glove and went into foul territory. With runners at the corners after an intentional walk to Amber Freeman, Hayley Steele hit into a Fielder’s choice to third baseman Kelsey Miller, but an unsuccessful run down allowed Johnson to score the third run.
ASU added three more runs on an RBI Single to right by Elizabeth Caporuscio, an RBI single by Bethany Kemp and an RBI ground out by Gonzales. Leading 6-0, Girard sent the first pitch she saw over center field for a walk-off homer.
Dartmouth will take on San Diego State, who lost in extra innings to Michigan in the opening game of the day in the elimination bracket tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. PT/ 8:30 ET. Arizona State and Michigan will be the first game tomorrow at 3 p.m. PT/ 6 p.m. ET, with the winner will advancing to the Regional Finals on Sunday. The loser will meet the winner of the Dartmouth-San Diego State game in the second elimination tilt of the day.
“I’m so proud of our team. My girls battled their guts out today. Really proud of how they competed. They are great hitters and they kind of figured things out and they started pouring it on in the fifth. It escalated pretty quickly. But I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
On the most difficult thing when playing ASU:
“The consistency of their hitting, the level. We haven’t seen a lineup that stacked and that deep this year. By that third time through they are tough outs. I think that is the biggest thing, they are just on a different level. There is a reason they are top 10 in the country.”
On facing Dallas Escobedo:
“It was exactly what we thought it would be. I really like the way we battled at the plate. It took us a couple innings to get our timing down. She was a little faster than what we have seen lately. Laying off the rise ball and showing that discipline was huge. I think we did a very good job off that. She keeps you off balance. She is a great pitcher.”
On the experience of playing in the postseason for the first time:
“Great experience. Fun to just enjoy this team and watch them play. They earned this opportunity. For me that was fun part. We had a pretty precise plan mapped out over the last 4 years and it is very full filling.”
On being on a national stage:
“It’s been an exciting week and a half leading up to this after winning the championship. Watching this team be excited not to just be here, but to compete. I know that we are going to go to bed, sleep well, and we will be very hungry to go battle San Diego State tomorrow.”
On playing in the postseason for the first time:
“We were exceptionally excited to be here. But we always wanted to compete, we wanted to come here and have fun, but we wanted to give our best and I think we did that today. I’m excited that we represented the Ivy League the way we did. We got to come out and play against Dallas and Arizona State, they are a great team and we really enjoyed it.”
On her single in the third inning:
“I put that hit on the mental attitude we had coming into the game. There wasn’t any pressure. We wanted to play with confidence. We were able to do that and it allowed me to get in the box and get a hit off a pitcher you see on T.V. is great.”
On playing on a national stage:
“It was really cool. Our goal for the season was to win an Ivy League championship and we won a championship, but we did not want to be done. We wanted to represent Dartmouth and represent the Ivy League.”
On playing in the postseason for the first time:
“We are super excited to be here. This is a first time for us and we are just enjoying every moment of it. We held our own for the first five innings giving Arizona State a run for their money.”
On her performance today:
“I wouldn’t say today was my best game, but you couldn’t tell because of the amazing plays the defense was making behind me. There were so many plays all around. Our team was just competing and I am super proud of them today.”
On playing on T.V. in front of a national audience:
“We are trying to enjoy every moment. We are still in school, but we are still trying to enjoy the moment. Being here in Arizona and our friends back home being able to watch us, that is quite the moment for us.”