No. 21 Softball Upends No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-1

March 18, 2005

FULLERTON, Calif. - In a constant light rain, the 21st-ranked Arizona State softball team (25-6) received an outstanding relief pitching performance from Desiree Serrano as the Sun Devils knocked off seventh-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette (22-4), 5-1, in the final pool game of the KIA Klassic. ASU, who finished second in its pool, advances to the championship bracket on Saturday to face fifth-ranked Texas in a quarterfinal game at 1:30 p.m. (PT).

Serrano (10-1) relived ASU starting pitcher Katie Burkhart in the fourth inning. Serrano then shutout ULL for the final four innings, giving up only two hits while striking out two. The Sun Devils also walked 10 times and had four different players collect RBIs.

ASU tallied one run in the first inning off four consecutive walks by ULL starting pitcher Brooke Mitchell (17-4). With two outs, Mindy Cowles, Valerie Sevilla, Sharee Zaleski all walked to load to bases. Heidi Knabe then worked the fourth straight walk from Mitchell to bring home Cowles. Mitchell then struck out Ashley Werschky to end the inning.

The Devils tagged on one more run on a ULL error. With one out, Ciri Bryan walked and moved to second on a wild pitch off relief pitcher Heather Bobbitt. Caron followed with a ground ball to the shortstop, but her throw to first was wide for a throwing error allowing Caron to head to second and Bryan to score.

In the third inning, ASU had a chance to extend its lead when Sevilla led off with a double into the left center field gap. Zaleski then hit a high fly to center, but the ULL outfielders let it drop. But ASU could not produce a run after Bobbitt struck out the next batter and induced two pop ups to end the threat.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, ULL cut the ASU lead to 2-1 when Danyele Gomez hit a solo home run over the left field fence. Serrano then relived Burkhart and finished the fourth inning.

However, ASU answered in the top of the fifth when Zaleski, the current Pac-10 Player of the Week, knocked a solo home run over the center field fence for the 3-1 edge. The home run was Zaleski's 10th of the year, tying the team high with Cowles.

ASU had a chance to break open the game in the top of the sixth. Bryan singled to center and was moved to second on a Bridgette Caron sacrifice bunt. Cowles drove a long shot to deep left field, but was caught just short of the fence for the second out. Then after consecutive walks to Baca and Sevilla to load the bases, Zaleski flied out to left to end the inning.

In the seventh inning ASU did add two more runs to extend its lead to a final 5-1. Knabe led off with a hard double down the left field line, and was then replaced by Michelle Smith for pinch running purposes. Werschky singled up the middle and McCard walked to load the bases again. Bryan worked another walk to dive in Smith, while Caron hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Werschky for the final run.

ASU had several changes to score more run through out the game as they stranded 14 runners on base. Caron and Zaleski each went 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Baca, Sevilla and Bryan each walked twice. Burkhart pitched the first three innings, allowing only two hits, one run with two strikeouts.
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