No. 4 Softball Advances To The College World Series!
May 19, 2002
LAFAYETTE, La. - For the first time since the 1999 season and the fourth time in school history, the Arizona State softball team (44-18) will make a return trip back to Oklahoma City and the Women's College World Series as they defeated for the second straight time third-ranked and top-seeded Louisiana State (56-11), 4-1, today in the championship game of the Region III Tournament in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Sun Devils will face Michigan in a first round game at the WCWS on Thursday, May 23 at 4:00 p.m. (Arizona time).
The Sun Devil and Tigers traded single runs in the first inning of play. Nichole Thompson got on first with an infield hit to second off LSU starter Britni Sneed (34-7). Kara Brun then singled to left field, moving Thompson to second. Erica Beach (31-13), the Region III Most Outstanding Player, singled to center field, scoring Thompson.
LSU's Trena Peel earned a walk to open the bottom of the first. April Janzen then attempted to sacrifice Peel up to second, but the throw to second wasn't in time and both runners were called safe. Christy Conner followed with a single to right field to plate Peel and tie the game.
Both teams went scoreless until the ASU fifth inning when they went ahead for good. Jennifer Forner, one of four ASU players named to the Region III All-Tournament Team, singled to right field to start off the inning. Missy Hixon then laid down a bunt, advancing Forner to second. Thompson then sacrificed Forner and Hixon to third and second base respectively. Brun then hit a foul ball into left field, which Aleshia Perry caught, but Forner tagged on the catch and slid head first into home as the ball glanced off her shoulder and into the ASU dugout also allowing Hixon to score.
ASU would tag one more run on in the sixth inning. Kristin Farber, who extended her team-leading hitting streak to 13 games, opened with an infield single. After getting moved to second on a sacrifice by Adriana Garcia, Forner reached first on an error by the LSU shortstop. Both players then advance to second and third on a wild pitch by Sneed. Thompson scored Farber on another infield hit to pull ahead 4-1 and secure the victory for the Sun Devils.
Once again Beach pitched a great game, allowing only three hits and one run with three strikeouts. ASU pounded out 13 hits off Sneed.
***Beach's 31st win of the year set a new Arizona State single season record.
***The 44 Arizona State wins set a new school record for most wins in a single season.
***Kristin Farber was the leading hitter in the regional, hitting at a .667 clip (8-12), while Jennifer Forner was second at .545 (6-11).
***Erica Beach went 4-0 in the regional with a 0.48 ERA, allowing only two earned runs in 29 innings.
***Arizona State led all tournament teams in batting average (.357), ERA (0.48), hits (41), doubles (5) and double plays turned (4).
***Region III All-Tournament Team:
Erica Beach - Most Outstanding Player