TEMPE, Ariz.- Down 6-1 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Amber Freeman and Katelyn Boyd both hit grand slams, in leading the No. 4 Arizona State softball team to an 11-9 win over No. 16. Stanford Friday.
“We had a lot of game left,” ASU coach Clint Myers said. “In order to beat a quality team like Stanford, we had to start swinging the bat and doing it with people on base, when you’re able to execute like that, it’s a never-give-in, never die. They seem to find a way to keep making in happen.”
The win brought the Sun Devils to 37-5 and 8-3 in the Pacific-12, while the Cardinal dropped to 32-14 and 6-10 in the very-competitive conference.
The Cardinal’s Jenna Rich got the ball rolling with a one-out grand slam in the top of the third, Stanford’s fourth in the last five games.
Boyd doubled for ASU in the bottom of the third to score Talor Haro (3-for-4 with two runs) and cut the lead to 4-1, but Elizabeth Caporuscio struck out, stranding the bases loaded.
Stanford added two more runs in the fourth, as reigining national player of the year Ashley Hansen (Chandler/Corona del Sol) drove in Kelsey Gerhart and Hanna Winter with the bases loaded and two outs. Rich then barely made it 9-1, but Haro robbed her of the homer at the left field wall.
Then came the murderous bottom of the fifth inning for ASU, as the Sun Devils scored eight runs with two outs. Haley Steele walked to load the bags for freshman Amber Freeman, who connected on her eighth home run of the year and first grand slam to shave the margin to one. Sam Parlich and Haro singled next, Nikole Afusia walked, and Boyd delivered on another grand slam, her 16th homer of 2012, to put ASU up 9-6. It was the first time in program history two grand slams were hit in the same inning.
“I look at it as another great feat, the two outs are what I will remember,” said Boyd, who finshed 2-for-3 with two runs and five RBIs.
The first pitch of the sixth inning was sent over the right field fence by ASU first baseman Annie Lockwood, her seventh of the year. Parlich (3-for-4 Friday) then doubled and scored pinch runner Breanna Kaye with two outs. That gave ASU a seemingly-comfortable five-run lead going into the top of the seventh, but the Cardinal gave all it had until the last pitch.
Rich scored again on an error from third base, as she ended up 3-for-4. Pinch runner Tegan Schmidt singled to load the bases with two outs. Jenna Becerra scored, and freshman Leah White (3-for-5) drove in Alyssa Lombardo to cut the lead to 11-9, but a base running miscue ended the game, as Schmidt ran back to the third, rather than home and was called out. White attended Phoenix’s Horizon High School, the same as Boyd.
Mackenzie Popescue (6-1) replaced Dallas Escobedo on the mound at the start of the fifth for ASU, and Teagan Gerhart (27-9) struck out five in the loss.
“I finally got my opportunity,” Popescue said. “I love the adrenaline, when I go out there and hear a thousand people screaming, that definitely makes me throw harder. In that last inning I think I got my adrenaline up a little too high, but luckily, my teammates had my back.”
The same two teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday PT.