Softball Edges UTSA, 5-4, in 8 Innings

Feb. 6, 2005


TEMPE, Ariz. - With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, ASU's Heidi Knabe reached first base on a throwing error by Texas-San Antonio shortstop Aimee Murray, allowing Mindy Cowles to score from third to seal the 5-4 win for the Arizona State University softball team (3-0) Sunday afternoon at Farrington Stadium.


ASU struck first for the second time in three games for one run in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Knabe drilled a hard ground ball that glanced off the UTSA shortstop into left field for a double. Sharee Zaleski followed with a single to right field to drive in Knabe for the 1-0 lead.


The Devils collected one more run for the 2-0 edge in the bottom of the fourth. After one out and back to back walks to Cowles and Valerie Sevilla, Ciri Bryan stepped to the plate and singled to center field to drive in Cowles from second.


The Roadrunners then got back into the game in the fifth inning off Cowles. With two outs, Jessica Rogers hit a solo home run over the left field fence. UTSA (0-3) then had runners on first and second when Cowles was lifted for pitcher Katie Burkhart. The freshman, who picked up the save Saturday night, came in and got the next batter to fly out to end the inning and keep ASU with a 2-1 lead.


In the bottom of the fifth, ASU got the run back when Jennifer McCard doubled to right centerfield and was then driven in by Michelle Smith's double that fell between the third baseman and left fielder.


But in the top of the seventh, UTSA tied the game in dramatic fashion. With two outs and one on, Krystal Gibson took Burkhart's full count pitch over the right field fence to even the score. The batter before that, Rogers had popped up to Burkhart for the game-ending out, but Burkhart dropped the ball allowing Gibson to bat.


ASU could not plate a run in the bottom of the seventh so the game proceeded into the eighth inning and international tiebreaker. UTSA placed a runner on second and moved her over to third on a sacrifice bunt that allowed Mel Torres to drive her in with a deep sacrifice fly to left field for the 4-3 lead.


In the bottom of the eighth, the Sun Devils tide the game at four when Bridgette Caron came home from third on a single to right field from Rhiannon Baca. ASU then loaded the bases for Knabe's hit and game winner.


Burkhart (1-0) picked up the win finishing the final three and a third innings with five strikeouts. Cowles started the game and received the no-decision after tossing four and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on five hits. 


Up next, ASU will host the 19-team Kajikawa Classic Tournament next weekend. The Sun Devils will open the tournament at the Tempe Sports Complex on Friday, February 11 against Buffalo with a scheduled first pitch for 2:30 p.m. ASU will then play Massachusetts at 4:45 p.m.
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