No. 20 Softball Drops Semifinal Game To No. 7 Washington At The NIST

March 13, 2004

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - The 20th-ranked Arizona State softball team (27-11) advanced to the semifinals of the National Invitational Softball Tournament Saturday by defeating Purdue, 4-0 in the quarterfinals, but then dropped a 5-0 decision to No. 7 Washington. The Sun Devils will now play Iowa in the third-place game on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific).

In the quarterfinals against Purdue the Devils used the long ball to collect all four runs as Phelan Wright hit a pair of home runs, her ninth and 10th of the year and Ashley Werschky blasted a solo shot, her second of the year. Werschky also started the game in the circle, but lasted only two innings before giving away to Desiree Serrano (12-3) for the final five innings as the two combined for the four hit shutout.

Purdue looked to take the early lead in the second inning when they loaded the bases, but Werschky got a groundout to end the threat. After that inning, the Boilermakers were held in check. In the Sun Devil fourth inning with two out and no one on, Wright hit the first of her two home runs over the right field fence. To leadoff the fifth inning, Werschky drilled another solo shot over the left field fence for the 2-0 lead.

Then in the sixth inning, Valerie Sevilla opened the frame with single to right field. Wright then stepped to the plate and took Purdue's Diana LaRiva's pitch over the center field fence for the 4-0 lead.

Serrano finished the game, allowing only three hits with seven strikeouts. Kristin Farber stole two more bases to raise her single-season total to 27, just four shy of the record.

In the semifinals, the Huskies jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead off one hit and two ASU errors. Werschky started the game by getting the first two outs, but then Sarah Hyatt walked and Kristen Rivera popped a pitch to the first baseman, who dropped the ball to keep the inning alive. ASU had one more chance to get out of the inning unscathed when Dena Tyson popped the ball up in foul territory by the first base bag, but ASU's second baseman dropped the ball. Tyson then singled to right field to drive in both runs.

The Devils first good scoring chance off UW starting pitcher Ashley Boek came in the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs when Sevilla and Wright both walked. Kari Pulcifer then took the count to 3-1, but on the next pitch she grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.

UW then tacked on three more in the fifth when Rivera hit a three-run home run over the left centerfield fence. Serrano then replaced Werschky and pitched the final three innings, allowing only two hits with four strikeouts. Boek went the distance, giving up three hits with eight strikeouts as the Devils could not get any runs across

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