A two-run third inning propelled Arizona State to a 3-1 win over Oregon State Saturday afternoon, eliminating the Beavers from the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Heidi Knabe ignited a 2-for-3 plate outing as she blasted a leadoff home run out left field in the third. With one out, Jessica Mapes and Katie Cochran were issued back-to-back free passes. Bianca Cruz lifted the second out on a fly ball to center, but the throw to third skipped past OSU third baseman Sherina Galvan and went into the dugout to bring Mapes home and make it 2-0.
“It was a well-pitched game by Katie (Burkhart), and we had some timely hitting. Knabe had a big home run,” ASU head coach Clint Myers said. “We did a good job making their pitcher throw strikes.”
The two runs were all ASU starter Katie Burkhart needed as she advanced her record to 30-7 on the year. Burkhart allowed a run on two hits with 12 strikeouts in the complete-game effort against a team ASU was facing for the fourth time. The Sun Devils finished the year 3-1 against the Beavers, splitting a doubleheader in Tempe and taking the series on the road in Corvallis, Ore.
“Any time you face familiar hitters, you have to buckle down. I did that and had a fire inside me today,” Burkhart said. “There was no way I wanted to go home.”
The Sun Devils padded the lead in the top of the fifth as Mapes led off with a walk and moved to second as Cochran was hit by a pitch. Following a free pass to Cruz and a strikeout by Mindy Cowles, Rhiannon Baca lifted a sacrifice fly to left that plated Mapes with her second run of the game.
Burkhart held the Beavers hitless through the first four frames, but Brianne McGowan helped her own cause in the bottom of the fifth as she led off with a towering blast to left that hit on the lower canopy of the NFCA trailer.
That would be all the offense the Beavers could muster as Burkhart retired eight of the last nine hitters she faced. OSU ended its season at 43-16, and McGowan finished 29-9 as she allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits with four strikeouts while tying a season high with six walks in the complete-game effort.
The Sun Devils advance to face Tennessee at 6 p.m. Saturday.
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