TEMPE - It isn't easy to take the circle a day after throwing a no-hitter, and somehow one-up your own performance.
But that's exactly what Dallas Escobedo did Saturday, tossing a one-hit shutout as No. 5 Arizona State defeated Georgia 2-0 in the Tempe Regional at Farrington Stadium.
Escobedo struck out 11 and walked one in seven innings to improve to 27-4, less than 24 hours after throwing the first postseason no-hitter in ASU history Friday against San Jose State.
The Sun Devils (47-10) advance to the regional final, which will be played at 3 p.m. today against Georgia. If ASU loses the first game, a second will follow right after.
Escobedo has been nothing short of incredible lately for ASU. The junior right-hander has allowed just one hit in her past 21 innings, dating to a May 9 game against Oregon. Saturday was arguably her best outing of the season, topping even Friday's no-hitter in which she gave up three walks and two unearned runs in a 5-2 ASU win.
"(Friday), I didn't really feel as great as I did (Saturday)," Escobedo said. "I was throwing harder, I had a better bullpen warming up and I just felt more locked in. … I took my time, I was in charge, my pitches were going up. It was a good day."
Escobedo had her signature rise ball working to perfection Saturday, inducing several swings and misses up out of the zone. The only thing preventing her from consecutive no-hitters was an infield single in the top of the sixth.
With two outs in the inning, Anna Swafford hit a soft liner up the middle. ASU junior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle fielded it on a hop but her throw to first was late, breaking up the no-no.
Coyle can take solace in the fact that for the second consecutive day, she came up with the go-ahead hit for the Sun Devils. With two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the third, she hit a cue shot off the end of her bat toward second base. The ball's spin caused it to take an unexpected bounce when it hit the dirt, allowing junior right fielder Bailey Wigness to score from second as it trickled into center field.