#10 Softball Takes Down Southern Illinois and UC Davis in Day Two of NIS Tournament

March 11, 2006

Sunnyvale, Calif. - The 2006 NIS Tournament hosted by San Jose State University was finally able to get underway on Saturday as the weather cleared long enough to allow competition to begin with the #10 ASU Sun Devils taking down Southern Illinois in their first game of the day in a 2-0 decision followed with a 8-1 win over the UC Davis Aggies putting ASU at 24-1 on the season.


In their first game since Santa Clara on Thursday, the 22-1 Sun Devils took on the 12-1 Southern Illinois Salukis, with the series history between the two teams at 1-1.


The Devils came out slow as they were retired in order in both the first and second inning, the Devil defense backed them up though as Katie Burkhart stepped to mound and had already tallied four strikeouts on the day by the end of the second inning.


The Devils sparked to life in the third with a lead-off double from Rhiannon Baca to left-center where she was hit around the bases with a ground out from Sharee Zaleski and an error on the Saluki's third-baseman, Katie Louis on a hit from Michelle Smith.


With the game at 1-0, the Devils remained quiet and kept Southern Illinois quiet through two more innings when the Devils struck again in the sixth inning.


With Michelle Smith leading off the Devils in the sixth with a bunt single followed with a stolen base, Smith was knocked home with a sacrifice bunt from Jackie Vasquez and a single up the middle from second-baseman, Mindy Cowles.


From there the Devils shut down the Salukis, coming out with a 2-0 win to beat Southern Illinois for the first time since their last meeting in 1985 giving ASU the lead in the series history 2-1.


In the second game of the day for the Devils, they faced off against the UC Davis Aggies where they looked much more like themselves as they clicked on all cylinders both offensively and defensively.


The Devils jumped ahead early as a lead-off walk to Michelle Smith followed with a steal of second, was hit home with a single to third base from Bridgette Caron, to put the Devils up 1-0.


The Aggies answered in the bottom of the first with a run of their own off of a single from Megan De La Hoya which made it around the bases on a Sun Devil error and a passed ball.


After that it was all Sun Devil offense and great pitching by Serrano while backed by solid defense that helped the Devils put away the Aggies in Sun Devil style.


The Devils added three more runs to the score in the second as Kim Zadrozny walked followed with Heidi Knabe being hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with Michelle Smith coming up next to nail a triple to left field.


Smith made it home as well in the inning off of a wild pitch by the UC Davis Aggies' pitcher, Christina Grimm.


The fourth inning was where the Devils closed the book on the Aggies as they racked in four runs on four hits as Michelle Smith, Mindy Cowles, Kaitlin Cochran and Rhiannon Baca each had a single in addition to Bridgette Caron, Sharee Zaleski and Jessica Mapes all drawing walks from the Aggies pitching squad.


With the score set at 8-1, the Devils settled down and played tough defense, keeping the Aggies scoreless through the rest of the game, as the Devils grabbed wins number 23 and 24 on the season Saturday.


The Devils return to action tomorrow as the NIS Tournament wraps up with ASU set to face off against Iowa and the host-school, San JoseStateUniversity.


The game versus Iowa is set to be played at 9 a.m. with the San JoseState game to follow immediately afterwards at 11 a.m., both are to be played at the Twin Creeks Sports Complex in Sunnyvale.

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