TEMPE - And thus concludes the Dallas Escobedo Regional.
No. 5 Arizona State is on to the super regionals after another dominating performance from its junior ace. Escobedo got her third straight regional win and shut out Georgia for the second consecutive day, allowing three hits and striking out five in a 2-0 ASU victory Sunday at Farrington Stadium.
The Sun Devils (48-10) will face No. 12 Kentucky at home next weekend in the super regionals. Kentucky (40-19) went 3-1 in the Lexington Regional, defeating Virginia Tech 1-0 on Sunday to advance. ASU beat the Wildcats 8-1 on Feb. 9.
Escobedo's outing followed a no-hitter Friday against San Jose State and a one-hit shutout Saturday against Georgia (40-21). Her combined line over the three regional games: 21 innings, two runs allowed (both unearned), four hits, four walks and 21 strikeouts.
"She's in a groove right now," coach Clint Myers said. "There were questions over the course of the year about Dallas, and I think she's answered them."
Escobedo (28-4) threw 61 of her 92 pitches for strikes and didn't allow a runner to reach second base until the fifth inning, when she promptly struck out two Bulldogs to retire the side.
The designated visitors Sunday, the Sun Devils got all the offense they needed in the top of the first. Junior center fielder Alix Johnson led off with a walk and stole second, and two batters later, sophomore catcher Amber Freeman sent a flare into shallow center that went off the Georgia shortstop's glove for a double, scoring Johnson.
Sophomore third baseman Haley Steele followed with a double down the left-field line, allowing Freeman to come home to make it 2-0. Georgia replaced starter Chelsea Wilkinson (8-6) with Morgan Montemayor to start the second inning, and Montemayor held ASU to no runs and four hits the rest of the way.
Normally a high-powered offense, the Sun Devils scored just nine runs in three games over the weekend. As junior right fielder Bailey Wigness mentioned, that's partly a product of the improved pitching in the postseason.