Softball Competes At The Region III Tournament In Lafayette, Louisiana
May 13, 2002
ON TAP: The fourth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (40-18) will travel to Region III in Lafayette, Louisiana as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona State will face No. 5 seed Mississippi State (34-27) in the second game on Thursday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. (central time). Other team's in the regional include third-ranked and No. 1 seed Louisiana State (53-9), host and No. 3 seed Louisiana-Lafayette (49-11), No. 4 seed Massachusetts (52-11) and No. 6 seed Northwestern State (La.) (45-23). This will be Arizona State's sixth straight regional appearance and the 15th in the school's history.
LIFE'S A BEACH: Senior All-American pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a career year as a Sun Devil. Beach currently holds Arizona State's all-time record for home runs (27) and RBIs (152), and is second all-time in wins (73) and third in strikeouts (469). This season, Beach continues to post career-highs for wins, currently at 27 (second all-time in a single season) with 5 shutouts/6 combined and 169 strikeouts. Her 46 appearances is tops in the Pac-10 and Beach's 27 wins is No. 2 in the Pac-10 and No. 7 in the nation. Also in the Pac-10, Beach carries a 1.84 ERA, winning nine of the 10 Pac-10 games and batting at a .400 clip with four home runs. At the beginning of the Pac-10 season, Beach was one of ASU's main contributors at the plate and in the circle as the Sun Devils defeated top-ranked UCLA once and 10th-ranked Washington twice, earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Offensively, Beach went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, two home runs (including the game-winner against UCLA), three RBIs and four walks. She was also tough in the circle going 2-0 in 12.2 innings, allowing just three runs with nine strikeouts. Beach tallied two wins, helping ASU win the title at the National Invitational Tournament. During the run to the crown, Beach pitched 21 innings, with 18 strikeouts, allowing only one earned run for a 0.33 ERA. Beach recorded her first win, a 1-0 one-hit shutout in the championship bracket against Long Beach State. Beach went eight innings, allowing the one hit for her fifth shutout of the year. In what turned out to be the championship game against 17th-ranked Iowa, Beach came in relief with one out and two Hawkeye's on base and proceeded to get out of that jam. She then pitch four more innings, allowing only three hits with six strikeouts as ASU went on to win 5-1. Against Northern Iowa, Beach pitched eight and a third innings, striking out a career-high 10 batters. After posting a perfect 3-0 record at the Louisville Slugger Classic Tournament, Beach was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. She tossed her third shutout of the year against Oklahoma State and was a main factor in ASU winning the title as she pitched 21 innings, striking out 13, while allowing only one earned run. The earned run was the first all year, snapping a streak of 39 and two-thirds innings. The honor is Beach's fifth Pac-10 award of her career. At the Fiesta Bowl Tournament, Beach posted back to back one-hit games against No. 16 Fresno State and New Mexico State, flirting each time with no-hitters deep into the games. As a junior, Beach claimed Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week, Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week.