ASU sweeps Florida for 2nd NCAA championship - East Valley Tribune: Sports

ASU sweeps Florida for 2nd NCAA championship

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Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:54 am | Updated: 11:21 am, Wed Jun 8, 2011.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Dallas Escobedo let go of a 2-2 pitch and became the first freshman pitcher to win a softball national championship since 1990.

On the other end, a swinging Kelsey Bruder strikeout sealed the fate.

For the second time in program history, Arizona State is the Women's College World Series champions. ASU swept the best-of-three final series by defeating Florida 7-2 on a balmy Tuesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

"I feel lucky, I guess," the freshman Escobedo said. "It's just a whole bunch of emotions right now."

In the previous two games the teams had played against one another in Oklahoma City, the Sun Devils jumped out to early leads, crushing the spirit of the Gators early.

But it was role reversal in the first inning Tuesday night as the Gators got an early run on a Brittany Schutte sacrifice fly to left.

But instead of giving Florida breathing room or a chance for sustained excitement, Arizona State buckled down.

The Sun Devils bats got to senior Stephanie Brombacher once again. This time it started with a three-run second frame courtesy of a bases-loaded walk to Alix Johnson and Katelyn Boyd's two-run single.

"I can't believe this happened," Johnson said. "I'm just overwhelmed with joy. I can't believe this."

ASU continued its surge in the third -- this time riding a Johnson bloop single to right that plated Annie Lockwood and Mandy Urfer.

Overall, Arizona State outscored Florida 19-1 in the first three innings of the team's three meetings at the WCWS.

"[This Sun Devils team], if you had to argue, is probably one of the best teams to ever come through Oklahoma City," Florida coach Tim Walton said.

Along with UF center fielder Michelle Moultrie, Escobedo was named co-WCWS Most Outstanding Player and finished a breakout performance on college softball's grandest stage as steady as ever.

The flame-throwing phenom struck out five and surrendered just four hits. After Florida adjusted into taking her rise-ball out of the zone early, she began mixing in a menacing changeup that left UF batters perplexed.

"Today, I was honestly sore and really wasn't feeling it," Escobedo said. "I was just like, ‘OK, stay focused.'"

Another single by Boyd and Lockwood's third home run of the WCWS gave the freshman hurler all the padding she needed.

Arizona State's first national championship came in 2008. Although the Sun Devils feature underclassmen in some key roles, the team is sending eight seniors -- including catcher and leader Kaylyn Castillo -- out on top.

A transfer student, the diminutive but dynamic catcher and three-hole hitter -- who ASU coach Clint Myers called one of the best players in the country -- was at home watching the WCWS in 2008.

"The seniors stepped up," Myers said. "It's their last hoorah. The seniors had the best leadership I've seen in 35 years."


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