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Dartmouth Falls to No. 4 Arizona State in NCAA Softball Championship Opener

Dartmouth's Kristen Rumley
Dartmouth's Kristen Rumley

Courtesy of Dartmouth Varsity Athletics Communications

TEMPE, Ariz. –  With Dartmouth trailing, 2-0, in the fifth inning, Arizona State tacked on six runs to defeat the Big Green softball team, 8-0, in a shortened five-inning game at the NCAA Regional on Friday evening.

Arizona State's Dallas Escobedo (23-7) allowed one hit to the Big Green (31-18) in the third inning with a single up the middle by junior Megan Averitt. The Sun Devils'  ace also issued two walks to freshman Karen Chaw, but fanned eight Big Green hitters in the process.

Arizona State (45-10-1) is ranked No. 4 in the NFCA Top 25 and is seeded ninth in the tournament. 

In the top of the second, Chaw became the first Big Green member to reach base in an NCAA Tournament game with a six-pitch walk.

Junior Kristen Rumley (18-8) was impressive inside the circle. She retired nine straight Sun Devil batters at one point, settling in after surrendering a two-run homer to Chelsea Gonzales and then a single to Nikki Girard. Gonzales' homer sailed over the center field wall to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Dartmouth picked up its first hit in the tournament on Averitt's single in the third. In the following inning, Chaw walked for the second time but was unable to advance past first base. 

In the Arizona State fifth, Alix Johnson led off the frame with an infield double to second base. The hit was nearly out of the reach of senior Kara Curosh as the ball hit off the tip of her glove and went into foul territory. With runners at the corners after an intentional walk to Amber Freeman, Hayley Steele hit into a fielder's choice to third baseman Kelsey Miller, but an unsuccessful run down allowed Johnson to score the third run.

ASU added three more runs on an RBI single to right by Elizabeth Caporuscio, an RBI single by Bethany Kemp and an RBI ground out by Gonzales. Leading 6-0, Girard sent the first pitch she saw over center field for a walk-off homer.

Dartmouth will take on San Diego State, who lost in extra innings to Michigan in the opening game of the day in the elimination bracket tomorrow at 8:30 pm ET. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

Arizona State and Michigan will be the first game tomorrow at 6 pm ET, as the winner will head to the Regional Finals on Sunday. The loser will meet the winner of the Dartmouth-San Diego State game in the second elimination game of the day at approximately 11 pm ET (8 pm local).