Sun Devils march on with victory over Oregon

OKLAHOMA CITY — No. 3 Arizona State faced a serious threat in the seventh, but was able to stave off the Oregon rally, defeating its fellow Pac-12 foe 3-1 in Thursday night's nightcap of the Women's College World Series opening round.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the final inning, however, the Ducks set the table beautifully.

After a double and walk, first baseman Christie Nieto scored on an error, and moments later Oregon had runners on second and third, the tying run in scoring position.

But ASU ace Dallas Escobedo forced an unassisted double play on a lineout to third that basically killed the threat.

Pinch hitter Hannah Melick then struck out to end it.

"We came out--a couple tough breaks here and there," said Oregon head coach Mike White. "We were down by three in the seventh, fought our way back, and third baseman made a great play for the double play that kind of started the end of our rally a little bit."

Fact of the matter is the Ducks really had their chances early in the game, wasting opportunities with runners at third in both the first and third innings.

It was part of five runners left on base in key times.

"First few innings, we had an opportunity to take the lead, close call, didn't happen the way we wanted it to happen," White said. "But we tried to persevere."

Meanwhile, ASU maximized its opportunities out of just three hits the entire contest.

The Sun Devils were actually outhit by the Ducks five to three in the game.

"We've got to do a better job of making contact," said ASU head coach Clint Myers. "And again, we talked about it after the game."

Still, it was enough on this night considering they limited the damage in the field.

A lot of that lies on the shoulders of Escobedo, who allowed just an unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out five.

"I did know what to expect for the most part," Escobedo said. "But they did come out very aggressive. So, I was kind of thrown off. But then going back to what I knew and what my best pitch was, and really focusing in and seeing what they were doing while I was pitching, I had to just focus in and mentally get through it."

She certainly did, and so did the rest of the Sun Devils, as they march on in the winner's bracket to face Alabama at 8:30 p.m. CT Friday.

On the other hand, Oregon falls into the loser's bracket where they'll play Tennessee at 1:30 p.m. CT Saturday.

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