TUCSON -- Katie Burkhart's three-hit pitching and some of the Sun Devils' usual hitting -- home runs -- helped propel top-ranked Arizona State past No. 9 Arizona, 8-1, Wednesday night in Pac-10 softball?
Burkhart struck out 12, walked one and didn't give up an earned run in improving her record to 23-2. ASU improved to 42-2 overall and stayed unbeaten in Pac-10 play at 5-0. The Cats dropped to 27-11 and 4-3.
A crowd of 2,608 watched ASU's clout four homers for its?first victory over UA in Tucson since 1991, when they topped UA's first NCAA championship club 5-0. It was the Devils' first victory over UA at Hillenbrand Stadium, which opened in 1993.
ASU took three plate appearances to get three runs. Kaitlin Cochran drew a leadoff walk, Jackie Vasquez singled to center and Krista Donnenwirth took an 0-1 pitch from UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt (16-8) and put it four rows up in the left field stands for her 10th home run of the year and a 3-0 lead.
Mowatt had to get herself out of a jam immediately. She walked Kristen Miller, and then struck out Renee Welty for the first out. Miller stole second when UA catcher Callista Balko threw behind her on a pickoff attempt, and Katie Crabb drew a walk. But Mowatt got Mindy Cowles on a liner to short and Rhiannon Baca on a flyball to short center.
The Cats scrambled for an answering run in the bottom of the first. Brittany Lastrapes dropped a single into short center field, and an out later Jenae Leles was hit by a pitch. Katie Burkhart struck out Stacie Chambers for the second out. Sam Banister hit a ground ball up the middle and second baseman Cowles dove and tried to shovel it backhanded to second for the force, but never had control and it went past the bag, allowing Lastrapes to score from second.
ASU answered right back, picking up two unearned runs in the top of the second. Jessica Mapes reached on an error, moved up on an infield single by Cochran, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Donnenwirth's infield out. Miller singled to left to bring in Cochran.
The Cats thwarted another possible rally when Jessica Mapes lined into a double play with two runners on base and one out in the ASU third.
Burkhart struck her way out of a small jam in the UA third. Lastrapes led off with a single, but Burkhart struck out Lauren Schutzler. She walked Leles, but then struck out Chambers and Banister.
Mindy Cowles hit a solo home run of the year to make it 6-1 in the top of the fifth. Caylyn Carlson hit her eighth of the season to make it 7-1 with an out in the seventh. Cowles hit her 10th of the year an out after that. Those and the earlier Sun Devils' long ball gave ASU 672 for the year to UA's 63. The Cats lead the nation at 1.66 per game but Arizona State isn't far behind at 1.52 per contest.
The four home runs were the most ever allowed in a single game by Mowatt, who had given up two in the season opener and two in 11 previous career games pitched. Overall she gave up 11 hits and six earned runs, striking out four and walking three.
The two teams will stay home this weekend to face the Washington/UCLA travel partners in league play. UA plays host to Washington Friday, while ASU will play UCLA. The Bruins then come to Tucson for a two-game series and the Huskies move to Tempe.
The Saturday UCLA game at 3 p.m. will be broadcast live on FSN national cable. All Arizona games this weekend will be broadcast live by IMG Sports on KCUB 1290.