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Tempe, AZ -- The LIU Brooklyn softball team opened the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a contest against defending national champion Arizona State. Despite putting the ball in play all evening long and putting pressure on the Sun Devil defense, the Blackbirds could not extinguish a potent ASU offense in a 9-0 loss on Friday evening.
After a scoreless first inning, Amber Freeman opened the scoring in the second with a solo home run to center field that put Arizona State on top 1-0. LIU sophomore Cassie Vondrak battled back to strand a runner on second and keep the margin at one heading to the top of the third.
In the third, freshman Nicole Archer nearly tied the ball game as she hit a ball to the warning track in left-centerfield that was caught by Talor Haro. A batter later, classmate Madison Green gave LIU its first runner of the game with a single up the middle and junior Karina Cervantes followed with an infield single to third base to put runners on first and second.
Arizona State starting pitcher Hillary Bach, a First Team All-Pac 12 selection, worked out of trouble, inducing a bouncer to third base to end the inning.
The bottom of the third saw ASU tack on three more runs as Elizabeth Caporuscio drove in a pair with a single to left and Freeman followed with an RBI single to put the score at 4-0.
The Blackbirds put the leadoff runner on in the fourth, as freshman Nichole Toven worked a walk. But the threat would be shortlived as Katelyn Boyd snared a line drive off the bat of sophomore Madison Zymkowitz and threw to first for a double play.
Arizona State went on to score five runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game out of reach. Haley Steele had the big blow in the frame, a three-run home run that pushed the lead to 9-0. Bach worked around a walk to freshman Nicole Archer in the fifth to secure the run-rule victory for the Sun Devils despite not striking out a single batter over five innings of work.
The Blackbirds will take on Long Beach State on Saturday, May 19 at 4:00 p.m. PST. The two teams faced off against one another earlier this season, with LIU taking a 5-2 win over the 49ers on the final day of the Cathedral Classic in California at the end of February.