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Freshman's homer sends ASU past Michigan and into Tempe Regional final

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Freshman Chelsea Gonzales hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth with two outs to propel Arizona State over Michigan, 4-1 Saturday, and into Sunday’s final of the NCAA Softball Tempe Regional.

Later in the day, the Wolverines (43-13) will tangle with either Dartmouth or San Diego State for the right to face the Sun Devils (46-10-1) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the double elimination tournament.

Sierra Romero, hitting an NCAA-high .510 but 1-for-5 in this tournament, drove home centerfielder Lyndsay Doyle in the top of the first for Michigan’s only run Saturday.

“We get down early and get big hits when we need big hits,” ASU coach Craig Nicholson said. “It was a great all-around team effort. We may have been a little bit over aggressive early, but we made adjustments.”

ASU scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the fourth. After Cheyenne Coyle led off being hit by a pitch, Amber Freeman singled to left. An Elizabeth Caporuscio single scored Coyle for the first run, and after Bethany Kemp (2-for-3 Saturday) struck out on a full count, Gonzales sent a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield fence.

“I was just thinking about getting a base hit,” Gonzales said. “Then I made some adjustments.”

Gonzales, who now has seven homers on the season, also hit a two-run shot to open the scoring of ASU’s 8-0 win over Dartmouth on Friday to open the competition.

Dallas Escobedo (24-7) was victorious on the mound with seven strikeouts.

“After that first inning, just getting out of there, they just made good contact, being able to shake if off,” Escobedo said of coming from behind. “It’s exciting just being here, at home, in the heat, getting able to play a great team, prepares us.”

Haylie Wagner (22-4) struck out three for the Wolverines.

“We’re going to keep fighting, keep preparing, we’re still in the tournament right now, that’s all that matters,” Wagner said.

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