Arizona State softball continued its winning ways on Thursday, shutting out Cal State Fullerton and the University of Texas on opening day of the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The second-ranked Sun Devils now stand at 27-1 on the season.
Arizona State defeated Cal State Fullerton 9-0 behind the pitching of Mackenzie Popescue. The Sun Devils blanked No. 9 Texas 3-0 with a strong effort by ace pitcher Dallas Escobedo.
Popescue improved to 12-0 on the year with ASU’s first win on the road. The junior accumulated nine strikeouts over seven innings of play, her new single-game career record. Cal State Fullerton starter Desiree Ybarra took the loss, dropping her to 4-4.
As expected, ASU’s matchup with Texas proved to be challenging; both teams remained scoreless until junior outfielder Alix Johnson doubled in the top of the fifth to score pinch runner Kayla Ketchum, giving the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead. Escobedo and the defense then took over, answering all of the Texas threats. Escobedo limited the Longhorns to three hits and retired 13 batters in her first outing of the tournament. She is now 14-1 while Texas’ Blaire Luna falls to 11-1 despite striking out nine ASU batters in the loss.
The victory over ninth-ranked Texas is Arizona State’s first win against a ranked team in 2013. Coach Clint Myers’ team is now 1-1 against ranked opponents.
The Sun Devils will play No. 15 Michigan on Friday at 10 a.m., followed by Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. They finish the Judi Garman Classic against Pacific at 10 a.m. on Saturday.