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Arizona State sweeps to NCAA softball title

OKLAHOMA CITY – Freshman Dallas Escobedo and Arizona State kept the NCAA softball championship the property of the Pac-10.

Katelyn Boyd and freshman Alix Johnson each drove in three runs, Annie Lockwood homered and the Sun Devils beat Florida (56-13) 7-2 Tuesday night to win their second NCAA title in four years.

The top-seeded Sun Devils (60-6) used a combination of holdovers from their first Women’s College World Series title in 2008 and some key freshmen to continue the Pac-10’s dominance of the event. The conference has won 23 of the 29 titles, including the last six.

Arizona State joined UCLA, Arizona and Texas A&M as the only teams to win multiple softball titles. UCLA with 12 – including one that was vacated for NCAA rules violations – and Arizona with eight are the only programs to win more than two.

“I’ll tell you what. It’s so hard to win one. To have the opportunity to win two, that’s just plain special,” coach Clint Myers said in a postgame interview that included a pie in the face. “You get into an elite group.

“We’re not UCLA or (Arizona) yet. But give us time.”

Escobedo (37-3) pitched a four-hitter to win her 19th consecutive decision, in the process becoming the first freshman pitcher to win the title since UCLA’s Heather Compton in 1990.

Arizona State won 23 of its last 24 games and had a perfect 10-game run through the tournament.