Arizona St. rolls in WCWS finals Game 1
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Clint Myers calls Krista Donnenwirth the best third baseman he's ever coached, during his time as Arizona State's softball coach or before that as a baseball coach.
She showed why in Game 1 of the Women's College World Series finals.
Donnenwirth hit two homers and drove in four runs, Kaylyn Castillo and Annie Lockwood had three RBIs apiece and the Sun Devils routed Florida 14-4 Monday night.
When asked what makes Donnenwirth so good, Myers started his response by saying: "What makes Brooks Robinson?"
Besides hitting long balls, Donnenwirth showed off her slick fielding with two defensive gems and the Gators never stood a chance.
"It's awesome that she's just a double threat or a triple-threat or whatever you can call her," pitcher Dallas Escobedo said. "I'm happy to have her on third and in the offense."
The Sun Devils (59-6) broke the game open by scoring six times with two outs in the second and built a big enough lead to have the game stopped by mercy rule if it wasn't played in the championship series.
Donnenwirth made it 7-0 with her three-run shot to the front of the left-field stands to finish the second-inning surge, then went back-to-back with Lockwood in the fifth as the lead bulged to 14.
Florida got late home runs from Kelsey Bruder, Cheyenne Coyle and Michelle Moultrie.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Tuesday night.
The Gators' players lashed out at home plate umpire Chris Drumm after the game, refusing to blame the loss on her but accusing her of inconsistent balls and strikes and a blown call that likely cost them a run in the first inning.
"I'm looking forward to playing ASU without her behind the plate," Bruder said. "I'm going to try to be as nice as possible, but I hope that whoever appoints her reevaluates her abilities.
"I'm not making any excuses. ASU absolutely kicked our butts and they deserved to win today, but it was really hard adjusting to the inconsistent calls."
The Gators (56-12) had been the hot-hitting team coming into the finals, scoring at least five in their first five games and winning two games against Alabama by a combined score of 25-4 on Sunday. They boast an offense that leads the nation with 124 home runs and rank second in scoring.
"We knew Florida had a great offense, and so we wanted to come out and prove a point that we have a great offense," Donnenwirth said. "I think that every single player was locked in at the plate."
Escobedo (36-3) cooled the Gators down enough to win the first matchup ever between freshmen pitchers in the finals, winning her 18th straight decision. Three of Florida's five hits were home runs, but all came in the sixth inning or later.
Escobedo won her 18th straight decision, and Arizona State has won 22 of its last 23 games.
Escobedo will try Tuesday night to become the first freshman pitcher to win the title since Heather Compton for UCLA in 1990.
Florida also got blown out in its first appearance in the finals two years ago, losing Game 1 to Washington 8-0. The Gators were swept in that series, losing 3-2 in Game 2.
Bruder proclaimed after the impressive sweep of Alabama that the Gators were out to represent the SEC, which has never won an NCAA softball title, and stop the dominance of the Pac-10 -- which won 22 of the 28 championships.
Arizona State caught a break right off the bat when Drumm called Tiffany DeFelice back to the box although she was clearly hit on the forearm by a pitch. Instead of having runners on first and second with nobody out, DeFelice flied out to right field and the Gators ended up stranding Moultrie on third.
"It didn't hit the bat at all. I don't know if bone sounds like bat, but it hit me square in the arm," DeFelice said. "It swelled up like a snowball. I had to have my trainer wrap it up. I mean, it was a rough night with that umpire and it was rough night first time we had her too."
Drumm was also behind the plate when Arizona State beat Florida 6-5 on Friday night.
"I don't think I have to defend her. I think she called the game as she saw it," NCAA director of championships Sharon Cessna said. "Because it may not have met the expectations or if they felt like they had an issue with her in a previous game and they came in with preconceived notions, that can happen both ways as well.
"I'm not necessarily going to defend her because I think she called the game as she saw it, and that's what we ask them to do. She's one of the six best umpires that we have, because we bring our best here."
Instead of playing with a lead, Florida quickly fell behind.
Moultrie misplayed Castillo's single to center in the bottom of the inning, allowing Lesley Rogers to score from second.
And it never got better.
After Hannah Rogers (36-8) intentionally walked slugger Katelyn Boyd, Lesley Rogers drew an 11-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs in the second. Castillo followed with a two-run single and Lockwood had an RBI single before Donnenwirth's first homer.
Donnenwirth made a nifty over-the-shoulder grab on Kasey Fagan's bloop down the left-field line to start the third, then snuffed out another potential rally by snaring Aja Paculba's liner for a double play in the fourth.
Sam Parlich also homered for Arizona State.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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