April 30, 2002
TUCSON--No. 2-ranked Arizona got the biggest key hit of the game, a two-run home run by Jackie Coburn in the bottom of the seventh, to beat No. 5 Arizona State, 5-3, before a crowd of 2,987 in college softball action Tuesday night.
Neither team could get many hits in key situations, with each stranding 10 runners. Coburn's blast was the Cats seventh hit of the game and came against ASU starter Erica Beach (25-11), though the Sun Devils switched her and Kirsten Voak eight times in the game.
UA's Jennie Finch (27-2) gave up six hits, walked five and only struck out
only three to earn the victory for the Wildcats, 45-7 overall and 12-3 in
Pac-10 play. Beach threw a combined four and one-third innings, allowing
six hits and all five of the Wildcats' runs.
ASU dropped to 38-14 overall and 8-7 in league action.
Lovie Jung walked, Courtney Fossatti singled and an out later Leneah Manuma was hit by an Erica Beach pitch to load the bases for Arizona in the bottom of the first. Mackenzie Vandergeest hit the next pitch for a two-run double to give UA a quick 2-0 lead. ASU brought in Kirsten Voak to pitch and she struck out Coburn and Jenny Gladding, both looking, to end the rally.
Two defensive plays helped Arizona thwart a Sun Devil rally in the top of the fourth. Crystal Farley robbed Beach of an extra-base hit, snagging a deep fly ball on the run at the fence in center field for the first out.
But ASU loaded the bases off UA pitcher Jennie Finch with a walk, an error on Voak's grounder when second baseman Lisha Ribellia dropped a force-play throw, and a single by Kristin Farber. Jennifer Forner then singled in a run to cut the lead to 2-1, but UA third baseman Lovie Jung snared a line drive by Missy Hixon and doubled off Voak with a tage for the third out.
UA loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth but came up empty. Jenny Gladding led off with a double down the left field line, and Candace Abrams sacrificed her to third and was safe at first on a fielding error by ASU second baseman Hixon. Farley walked to load the bases. But Beach, who had returned to pitch in the second, got a line-out and two ground balls to stop the rally.
Shortstop Kara Brun hit her ninth home run of the year, an Arizona State single-season record, with one out in the fifth to tie the game, 2-2.
Arizona regained the lead with one hit in the fifth but stranded three runners again. Manuma drew a walk off Beach to open the inning and ASU coach Linda Wells brought Voak back in to pitch, the 14th of 18 defensive switches for the Devils in the game. Vandergeest singled. Beach struck out Coburn, walked Gladding to load the bases, struck out Abrams and walked Farley to force in a run. A fielder's choice by Jung stopped the rally.
The Devils put a runner in scoring position in the sixth with a walk by Voak and a sacrifice by Forner, but Finch got Hixon to ground out and end the opportunity.
ASU tied the game on an error in the top of the seventh. Nichole Thompson drew the fourth walk off Finch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brun. Finch intentionally walked Phelan Wright and struck out Beach. ASU catcher Adriana Garcia, with a full count, singled to the hole at second and Ribellia couldn't get a handle on the ball, allowing Thompson to score from second.
Coburn's hit came after Vandergeest singled to lead off the seventh. Vandergeest was 3-for-3 with two RBI. Forner led ASU with two hits and one of the Devils' two RBI.