Timely hitting and dominant pitching kept the defending WCWS champions alive on Saturday night.
Arizona State, searching for its third NCAA softball title in five years, blanked LSU 6-0, eliminating the Tigers and vaulting the Sun Devils into a highly anticipated matchup with Oklahoma at noon Sunday.
“I think we are getting back to the way we were for 60 ballgames,” ASU coach Clint Myers said. “It's the first step of something special, we hope.”
Hillary Bach was the story, as the freshman got her first career Women's College World Series start, and rewarded Myers' faith. Bach, who ran her record to 22-1 this year, threw a four-hit shutout on just 83 pitches.
“We were completely confident in Hillary's performance all year long,” Myers said. “Just look at the games (we've pitched her).”
Right fielder Alix Johnson gave the Sun Devils all the necessary offense in the third, smoking a three-run homer, her 13th of the season, to dead center.
“Did it look like I was looking for the outside pitch? Because I was,” Johnson said. “It makes it a lot easier when you are focused in on one side of the plate. It was a good pitch to hit and it went out.”
ASU added three more in the fifth, cushioning an already insurmountable lead and then cruising to the win.