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Softball falls victim to Hollowell, 'Cats

UA fire-baller shuts out Devils twice, strikes out 25

 by Kyle Odegard
 published on Monday, April 12, 2004

Freshman shortstop Kristin Crenshaw grabs a ground ball during a game against UA at Farrington Stadium on Friday.  The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 6-0./issues/sports/657526
Freshman shortstop Kristin Crenshaw grabs a ground ball during a game against UA at Farrington Stadium on Friday. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 6-0.


Alicia Hollowell showed ASU up close and personal why she is considered one of the best softball pitchers in the country.

The sophomore UA hurler stymied the Sun Devil bats for two consecutive games as the No. 1 Wildcats swept ASU, 6-0 and 8-0, on Friday and Saturday at Farrington Stadium.

Hollowell pitched 13 innings in the two games, allowing four hits, no runs and striking out 25 batters.

"They're obviously number one for a reason, and [Hollowell] is a big part of that," ASU coach Linda Wells said.

In Saturday's game, junior Bre DeSanta battled Hollowell pitch-for-pitch through the first four innings, allowing just two hits and no runs. DeSanta was aided by a couple of outstanding plays by sophomore Ashley Werschky at shortstop.

In the third inning, UA had runners at first and second with two outs and Autumn Champion at the plate. The Wildcats tried a double steal, but Werschky was able to make a fantastic grab on a ball in the dirt and tagged out Allyson Von Liechtenstein at third base to end the inning.

Werschky followed that up with diving stab on a looping line drive to save two runs. UA had runners at second and third with just one out in the fourth, and it looked like a hit by Kristie Fox would find its way to the outfield, but Werschky ranged far to her right to make the play.

"They had runners in scoring position, and the reaction is to stop the ball if I can," Werschky said. "So I just jumped and hoped I caught it, and I did."

After a walk, DeSanta escaped the jam by getting a fly ball.

The Sun Devils' (30-18, 0-4 Pac-10) best chance to score was in the fourth inning, when senior third baseman Phelan Wright singled and senior designated hitter Keri Pulcifer reached on an error to give ASU runners at first and second with just one out. However, Hollowell induced a fly out from Werschky and struck out sophomore Kim Zadrozny to end the threat.

The wheels fell off for ASU in the fifth, as four hits, three walks and three errors led to six runs for UA. Jackie Coburn's at-bat exemplified the inning, as she put down a bunt single that plated two runs.

"We had one bad inning," Werschky said. "If that inning wasn't there, it would have been a different outcome. We would have been more confident at bat, and we would have been more competitive. That one inning was what did it."

Mackenzie Vandergeest then knocked a two-run home run in the sixth to put the score at 8-0.

On Friday, the Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 first-inning lead on an RBI single by Fox. ASU, though, looked like it would strike back as Wright and senior center fielder Kristin Farber reached second and third base with just one out.

Hollowell again showed her dominance, as she got Pulcifer to fly out and freshman first baseman Sharee Zaleski to go down on strikes.

"We need to execute our offense when we have the opportunity," Wells said. "Oftentimes, there are opponents you play where you get a lot of opportunities to execute your offense. With a team like this, you're not going to get that many chances."

The scored stayed at 1-0 until the fourth, when a solo home run by Fox pushed the Wildcats lead to two runs. UA continued to tack on runs in the fifth and sixth, scoring two runs in each frame to put the Sun Devils away.

The Sun Devils could only muster three hits in the game and struck out 15 times.

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