No. 7 Softball Advances To The Semifinals Of The NIST

March 9, 2002

PLEASANTON, Calif. - The seventh-ranked Arizona State softball team (22-6) advanced to the semifinals of the championship bracket Saturday with a 1-0 win over Long Beach State in eight innings. The Sun Devils will face either top-ranked UCLA or Iowa in the semifinals slated for 6:00 p.m. Saturday night.

Erica Beach (14-3) fired all eight innings, limiting the 49ers to only one hit. In the bottom of the eighth, Kristin Farber was placed on second by the international tiebreaker rule. Kirsten Voak then singled to left field to move Farber to third. Jennifer Forner, from near by Walnut Creek, then blasted a single to deep center field, scoring Farber for the winning run.

In the first game Saturday morning against Georgia Tech, who won their pool with a 3-0 record, ASU advanced with a 5-4 win over the Yellow Jackets.

Arizona State posted four runs in the second inning. Beach singled to left field to start the inning and then was replaced by Amber Turner as a pinch runner. Phelan Wright followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Turner to second. Adriana Garcia then singled to left field to drive in Turner for the first run. Farber then reached on an infield hit and Voak followed with a walk to load the bases. Forner singled to right field to score Garcia for the second run, while Missy Hixon then hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Farber. Nichole Thompson plated the fourth run when she singled to left field.

However, Georgia Tech would collect four runs to tie the game in the fourth. But ASU would manufacture the fifth and winning run in the fifth inning. Kara Brun walked to open the frame. Beach then put down a beautiful sacrifice bunt down the third base line, advancing Brun all the way to third on the Georgia Tech throw. Wright then smacked a hard single to right to bring in Brun for the final run.

Voak (6-3) started the game, going five innings with two earned runs and season-high 10 strikeouts. The 10 strikeouts marks Voak 18th career double digit strike out performance. Kristen Swetel relived Voak for the final two innings, posting her first career save. Swetel allowed only one hit.

In the late Friday night game against Northern Iowa, Arizona State fell in nine innings, 2-1 to end pool play at 1-2. The game didn't end until 11:10 p.m. with the temperatures dipping into the high 30's. Each team scored one run in the first inning, but was unable to score again until the bottom of the ninth. With the bases loaded, NIU singled in the winning run to earn the top spot in pool play while ASU ended up at the No. 2 seed. Beach pitched a tough game as she scattered seven hits, striking out a career high 10.

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