Softball Picks Up Two More Wins in Palm Springs

Feb. 26, 2005


PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Arizona State University softball team (11-2) won both of its games on Saturday to improve to 4-0 in the Palm Springs Classic. Freshman pitcher Katie Burkhart struck out a career-high 14 batters and Sharee Zaleski hit a solo home run to lift the Sun Devils to a 1-0 win over Northwestern. In the second game, Valerie Sevilla hit a game-winning two-run home run in the sixth inning to lift ASU to a 2-1 win over Notre Dame. Desiree Serrano kept her pitching record perfect on the year at 5-0 while Burkhart tallied her fourth save on the season.


In the first game against Northwestern, it turned out to be a pitcher's dual between ASU's Burkhart (3-1) and Northwestern Courtnay Foster (5-2). But in the end the ASU freshman came out on top with a career-high 14 strikeouts. Burkhart strikeout the side in the first inning and struck out the Wildcat side again in the fourth inning on just 11 pitches.


ASU looked to have a golden chance to score first in the second inning off Foster. Heidi Knabe walked and then advanced to third when Ciri Bryan doubled down the third base line for two on with no outs. Foster then got Ashley Werschky and Zaleski to strikeout. Jen McCard then sent a deep drive to center field but was caught just shy of the fence to end the inning.


ASU then struck for the game-winner in the fifth inning. Werschky led off the inning with a deep drive to left field that was caught at the fence. However, Zaleski then took a full count pitch from Foster deep over the center field fence for the 1-0 lead and eventual game-winner.


Northwestern's only threat came in the bottom of the sixth. After Burkhart struck out the first batter, Stephanie Churchwell reached on an infield single and Erin Mobley followed with a single to left field for runners on first and second. But as she had done all game, Burkhart reached back and struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam.


In the next game against Notre Dame, the Devils found themselves down for the first time in the tournament when ND's lead off hitter Megan Ciolli hit a two-out solo home run off Serrano (5-0) in the bottom of the third inning for the 1-0 lead.


ASU then took the lead back in the sixth when Sevilla hit a two-run home run over the left center field fence off ND starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein.


Burkhart relived Serrano in the bottom of the sixth and retired the Irish in order and finished off the seventh as well for her fourth save of the year. Serrano went five innings, allowing two hits and one run with six strikeouts.


Up next, ASU will play its fifth and final game of the classic on Sunday against Kansas at 11:30 a.m.