Homegrown Arizona State pitcher Mackenzie Popescue wasted little time making a name for herself in Sun Devil softball lore. A product of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., Popescue has been an ace for ASU since her redshirt freshman season in 2011.
Popescue was a four-time letter winner in prep softball. At Chaparral, she was a four-year MVP winner as well as a four-time All-State honoree while being named the 2008 and 2009 All-City Player of the Year. In the 2008 Desert Mountain Tournament she also collected MVP honors.
Popescue had an impressive breakout season after joining the talented Sun Devil pitching staff in 2011. The right-hander posted a 13-3 record, starting 17 games out of 23 total appearances. Popescue earned a 2.22 ERA through her 97.2 innings pitched, allowing only 72 hits and 35 runs. She threw 63 strikeouts and only 38 balls while limiting opponents to a .201 batting average. Popescue completed the season being named Pac-10 Academic All-Conference Honorable Mention, Pac-10 All-Conference Honorable Mention and Pac-10 All-Freshman.
As a sophomore in 2012, Popescue pitched 51.2 innings for a 2.30 ERA and a 7-2 season record. She posted three shutouts and one combined, while also pitching her first personal no-hitter against Wichita State. Her performance resulted in Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention.
In 2013, Popescue has continued to elevate her game. She pitched a career best nine strikeouts in a 6-1 victory against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 8, her first appearance of the year. She started the season going 13-0 and recorded her first win against a ranked team against No. 12 UCLA on March 23.
“I knew when I was needed and I knew my role on the team,” Popescue said of last season. “Now that I got my shot this year, it’s just making me better.”
Popescue is regarded as one of two ace pitchers in the current ASU circle (along with fellow right-hander Dallas Escobedo). Throughout her career, she has demonstrated her skill at changing speeds, with teammates giving her the nickname “Drop-ball Queen.”