Softball is back and the 2011 National Champion Arizona State Sun Devils threw pitchforks at the competition.
For week 1 of the regular season in the USA Today/NFCA Division 1 Top 25 poll, the Sun Devils moved up a slot from the preseason to rank No. 3. ASU went 7-0 while hosting the Kaijkawa Classic this past weekend (Feb. 7-10). Arizona State earned five shutouts, closing with a 10-0 (6) win against Boise State. ASU took out New Mexico 3-0, Indiana 8-0 (5), Western Michigan 7-0 and Bradley 3-0.
In Arizona State's 8-1 win over Kentucky, Cheyenne Coyle put the Sun Devils on the board in the second after singling to left while Sam Parlich followed with a homer to left. Parlich is now tied for 13th all-time at ASU in home runs, nabbing the 18th of her career.
In the third, Elizabeth Caporuscio tripled and ran home on a sac fly by Haley Steele for the 3-0 lead. Then in the fourth the Sun Devils scored five on five hits, with Amber Freeman hitting a homer to ASU's seemingly special spot, the left.
It looked as if Dallas Escobedo was going to earn a shutout until Kentucky's Griffin Joiner wacked a home run for an 8-1 score. But that was it for the Wildcats.
Escobedo earned eight strikeouts and let one walk.
Next, Arizona State will host the Littlewood Classic Feb. 15-17 in Tempe, Ariz. They'll face Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois Chicago, Illinois State and Minnesota.
Sliding two, No. 7 Oregon (4-2) opened its season with an 8-0 shutout over Western Michigan and an 8-1 win against Stephen F. Austin at the Kajikawa Classic. The Ducks then lost 0-1 to then-No. 14 Florida and 0-12 to No. 2 Oklahoma before winning its final two against San Jose State and Boise State, 7-1 and 9-1, respectively.
Against WMU, senior pitcher Jessica Moore earned the win and moved into first place for career victories for Oregon with 74, one ahead of former Duck Katie Wiese. Moore threw the first four innings, striking out three, walking one and allowing three hits in her third straight opening-day start.
The Ducks scored first with two runs in the bottom of the second when Courtney Ceo and Kailee Cuico brought home Allie Burger and Samantha Pappas. Three more runs came in the third inning and two followed in the fourth, including freshman Stevie Jo Knapp's pinch hitter home run during her first collegiate at-bat.
WMU's Becca Shemberger allowed two earned runs on four hits and she walked four in 2.0 innings. Mackenzie Shepeck threw the final two innings and allowed six earned runs on four hits while walking three.
Next, Oregon will face Ohio, Long Beach State, Louisiana-Monroe, Hawai'i and Cal State Fullerton at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Feb. 15-17.
Down six, No. 9 California is back with last year's Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, senior Jolene Henderson and Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Diane Ninemire. The Golden Bears are an even 2-2 after competing at the Kaijkawa Classic where they lost to SEC opponents Kentucky, 3-2 (9), and Florida, 7-4. Cal took down Cal State Northridge 7-2 and Indiana 9-1 (6).
Cal struck first in the bottom of the second against Kentucky when Breana Kostreba and Jordan Wallace touched home on a Jasmin Mejia single. After Kentucky's Kara Dill scored in the fourth, the Wildcats tied it up 2-all in the sixth when Katherine O'Brien ran home on a Lauren Cumbess single to center.
Cal couldn't score and extra innings ensued.
Kentucky ran home with the 3-2 win in the top of the ninth on Cumbess's second RBI of the game when Alice O'Brien scored on her single to left.
Next, Cal will play in the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Feb 15-17. They'll play Nevada, Utah Valley, San Jose State and Portland State.
Sliding three to No. 16, Arizona finished 3-2 at the Kajikawa Classic, opening with a 4-3 win over Northwestern before bouncing back-and-forth. UA lost 2-1 to Bradley, beat Cal Poly 10-3 and San Diego State 3-2 before losing 14-3 against Florida in the closer.
The Gators opened with five runs on walks, errors and hit-by-pitches and closed with six in the seventh. Florida tallied four home runs -- the last in the seventh was a pinch-hit grand slam by Bailey Castro.
The Gators earned two more in the top of the third but Arizona plated three between the fourth and fifth innings after a Chelsea Goodacre solo homer, a Brigette Del Ponte RBI on a double - her seventh of the season - and a Kelsey Rodriguez RBI. Florida also earned a run in the fifth.
Shelby Babcock allowed seven runs, four earned, on four hits. She walked seven and earned two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Estela Pinon entered in the third and allowed three home runs in the seventh, including Castro's grand slam. She let up seven runs with six earned on five hits.
Lauren Haeger earned the win for Florida, pitching five innings and allowing three earned runs on five hits. She nabbed three strikeouts and walked four. Hannah Rogers closed the game for the Gators, striking out two.
Next, Arizona will host the Hillenbrand Invitational Feb. 15-17 in Tucson, Ariz., playing Nebraska, Drake, Southern Utah, Purdue and Utah State.
Down two, the No. 18 Washington Huskies beat Hawai'i 3-1 in the championship game this past weekend at the Paradise Softball Classic, finishing 4-2 in the tournament and for the start of the season.
They opened with an 8-0 (6) win and went on to beat Ole Miss 10-2 (5) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham 8-4. They lost to UAB 4-3 and Hawai'i 5-2.
"It was good to get the first weekend under our belt," said UW head coach Heather Tarr. "Playing at UH is always a tough place to play. They have a nice home crowd and offensively they are a team with one swing can leave the ball park."
Washington handed Hawai'i its first loss of the season in the championship game. In the opening frame, Katelyn Inglesby hit a two-run homer to left field that scored Missy Taukeiaho.
In the bottom, Hawai'i's Leisha Li'ili'i singled to left for the team's lone score and plated after three straight walks.
Hooch Fagaly then added Washington's third and final run in the third inning on a homer to center field. Fagaly earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Washington's Bryana Walker earned the win, striking out eight in 4.2 innings. Kasey Stanchek tossed 2.1 and struck out four. She allowed four walks and one earned run on two hits.
No. 19 UCLA is 3-1 after hosting this past weekend's Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. The Bruins beat Wright State 1-0 (5) and 8-0 (6) as well as McNeese State 5-4. After UCLA's first scheduled game against Texas A&M on Feb. 8 was cancelled, the Bruins lost to them 7-6 (8) in the final game.
In UCLA's tight 5-4 win over McNeese State, the Bruins earned a walk-off win with Ally Carda's help. UCLA held a 3-1 lead into the seventh before allowing McNeese State to run ahead 4-3. But Carda's single brought home two for UCLA's 5-4 walk-off victory.
In the top of the seventh, McNeese State down 3-1, pinch runners Megan Knippa and Victoria Rich scored on pinch-hitter Emily Vincent's double to right-center. Mallory Livingston then pinch-ran for Vincent and scored when Lauren Langner doubled to left for a 4-3 lead.
With a UCLA player on every base in the bottom of the seventh, Gracie Goulder was bit by a pitch to force Sam Duran home for the 4-4 tie. Then Carda followed with the walk-off hit in left to bring Tara Mueller home.
On the mound for UCLA, Carda earned the win. Jessica Hall threw 6.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits while nabbing five strikeouts.
McNeese State's Meagan Bond took the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits.
Next, UCLA will play in the Easton Desert Classic Feb. 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nev. against Ohio, Hawai'i, San Jose State, Seattle University and Louisiana-Monroe.
Falling one, No. 22 Stanford took down Bradley 8-2, Portland State 3-1, Cal Poly 7-6 (9) and Indiana 8-2 at the Kajikawa Classic. They lost to No. 2 Oklahoma 6-0 and Kentucky 3-1.
In the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded against Cal Poly, Cassandra Roulund smacked a double to left center to score Jenna Rich and Kayla Bonstrom for Stanford's 7-6 win.
In the opening frame the Cardinal plated four on five hits. Sarah Hassman started with a double and ran to third on Hanna Winter's single. Leah White brought Hassman home on a single to left, Rich then scored Winter and White on a double and Jessica Plaza plated Rich with a single to right field.
Cal Poly came back with a 4-2 game in the top of the third when Kim Westlund and Celina Lafrades each had RBI's. Then in the sixth Cal Poly jumped ahead. With bases loaded, Stanford pitcher Kelsey Stevens hit Lafrades to score Jillian Andersen and Whitley Gerhart had a two-run double against her sister, Teagan Gerhart.
In the bottom of the seventh, Stanford down 5-4, Erin Ashby hit a solo homer to tie to force extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning Cal Poly plated in the top of the ninth for a 6-5 lead. In the bottom, Stanford loaded the bases with White on-base, Rich walking and Bonstrom reaching on a catcher's interference. Roulund went to plate with two outs and hit a double to left center for the win.
Teagan Gerhart earned nine strikeouts while allowing three earned runs on 12 hits in 8.2 innings. Stevens, tossing 0.1 innings allowed two earned runs and two walks.
Cal Poly's Chloe Wurst let up six earned runs on 12 hits. She struck out three and walked four.
Next, Stanford will host Santa Clara in a single-game on Feb. 13. They'll then take on Cal State Northridge, CSU Bakersfield and UC Davis at the Stanford Nike Invitational Feb. 15-17.
In just their second season in the Pac-12, the Utah Utes finished their opening weekend 2-3 at the Utah Valley/BYU Tournament. Utah won its first two games against South Dakota and Loyola Marymount, 8-4 and 9-3, respectively, before losing the final three against Seattle University, 6-3, Arkansas, 5-1 and Nevada, 6-4.
The Utes garnered five runs in the opening frame off a wild pitch, first baseman error and four walks.
Kelsi Hoopiiaina, Jackie Sweet, Marissa Mendenhall, Katelyn Elliot and Shelbi Everett scored in the first. Then Hoopiiaina followed in the second with her 18th career home run over the center wall on a 2-1 pitch.
South Dakota responded with four in the third.
Katelyn Wudel singled to left, Kate Snow grounded out to first, Wudel advanced to second, Lindsey Boyd singled to left center and Wudel scored. Katie Dinning singled to first, Boyd ran to second, Katie Cochran reached on a pitcher's error and advanced to second, Dinning ran to third and Boyd scored. Allie Daly then singled to right and Cochran and Dinning scored.
Utah's Chalese Fankhauser added two more for the Utes; she crossed home on Kate Dickman's RBI single to left center in the fourth and again in the sixth on Dickman's double RBI to left center.
Next, Utah will play in the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Feb 15-17. They'll play Idaho State, Seattle University, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and the University of Las Vegas.
The Oregon State Beavers finished the weekend at the Kajikawa Classic 3-3, beating Stephen F. Austin 9-0 in the opener, Northwestern 7-3 and San Jose State 1-0. The Beavers lost to No. 2 Oklahoma 14-2 in five, Creighton 5-3 and Kentucky 5-3.
Against No. 2 Oklahoma, runner-ups in the 2012 Women's College World Series, Desiree Beltran opened with a two-run homer against Oklahoma's Michelle Gascoigne, but the Sooners hit some homers of their own, especially Lauren Chamberlain.
Chamberlain responded in the bottom of the first with a solo hit to left for a 2-1 score. In the second Oklahoma plated two more and after a scoreless third inning the bats broke again and balls were flying.
Bases were loaded, Chamberlain was at the top of the lineup and she was walked on five pitches to bring home Callie Parsons. Georgia Casey followed with a sac fly for a run, Jessica Shults walked to reload the bases and Keilani Ricketts walked for another score. With one out and bases still loaded, Shelby Pendley singled to make it 7-2. Brittany Williams then singled for a run, Leslie Miller pinch-hit and nabbed a walk for a ninth run, Erica Sampson grabbed a bases-loaded walk for a 10-2 score and with Chamberlain at-bat on an 0-1 pitch she sent a ball over the right field wall.
Chamberlain, a sophomore, has 33 career home runs and is tied for ninth on Oklahoma's all-time home runs list.
Next, the Beavers will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Louisville Slugger Classic Feb. 15-17. They'll face Cal State Fullerton, BYU, Idaho State, Long Beach State and Seattle University.