No. 6 Softball Splits At The NFCA Leadoff Classic

Feb. 23, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The sixth-ranked Arizona State softball team (11-3) split their first two games today in Pool 3 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Tournament in Columbus, Georgia. ASU won its first pool game by downing 24th-ranked Massachusetts, 5-1 and falling in the second game to fourth-ranked Alabama, 7-6.

In game one, the Minutewomen scored one run in the top of the second, but the Sun Devils came back with two in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded, Kristen Swetel hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring in Jennifer Forner, who earlier hit a bunt single. Kristin Farber then singled to shortstop and beat out the throw, scoring Missy Hixon.

ASU would take a 3-1 lead in the third when after a Phelan Wright double and a ground out to mover her to third, Erica Beach singled to right field to score Wright. Beach would collect two more RBIs in the fifth when she again singled to right field, driving in Farber and Nichole Thompson.

Beach would also earn the win, pitching a three hitter while striking out five. The lone UMass run was unearned. Farber went 3-for-4 with a run and a RBI, while Beach went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

In the second game against the Crimson Tide, ASU would jump out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth. With two outs, Hixon and Stacey Farnworth each singled to bring up Shiloh Talanoa. On the first pitch from Alabama's Shelley Laird, Talanoa launched a 250-foot home run to straight away center field. It was Talanoa's team-leading third home run.

However, the lead was short lived, as Alabama would tie the score in the top of the fifth. Kelly Kretschman singled to center field to plate two runs and would score on the next batter on a throwing error from Beach. After a sharp hit ball back to Beach, her attempt to throw out the runner at first went a stray, allowing Kretschman to round third and score.

ASU would come back with another run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Forner led off the inning with a double to right field and then would score on a Brun single to left field.

But in the top of the seventh inning, Alabama would score four times, capped off by a Ginger Jones three-run home run. ASU would not give up though. In the bottom of the seventh Beach would hit the team's second home run of the game, this time a two-run shot over the right field fence to cut the lead to 7-6. But the Sun Devils couldn't plate another run as beach (7-2) suffered the loss, pitching her second straight game.

Leading hitters for the Sun Devils were Farber, 2-for-4, Talanoa, 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs and Beach, 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.

Up next, ASU will face Kansas on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. EST in the final game of pool play. ASU will then find out what bracket they will be placed in and play again at either 5:30 or 8:00 p.m.

Arizona State 5, Massachusetts 1 (Feb 23, 2001 at Columbus, Georgia)----------------------------------------------------------------------

Massachusetts.......010 000 0 - 1 3 0 (4-3)

Arizona State....... 021 020 X - 5 9 1 (11-2)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Massachusetts - Holtz. Arizona State - Beach.

Win-Beach(7-1) Loss-Holtz(1-1) T-1:50 A-0

Alabama 7, Arizona State 6 (Feb 23, 2001 at Columbus, Georgia)----------------------------------------------------------------------

Alabama............. 000 030 4 - 7 9 0 (11-0)

Arizona State..... 000 310 2 - 6 13 3 (11-3)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Alabama - Laird. Arizona State - Beach.

Win-Laird(5-0) Loss-Beach(7-2) T-2:00 pm A-229

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