ASU Softball gets No. 5 national seed, begins NCAA Tournament Friday

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

Tempe, Ariz -- The Arizona State softball team has earned the No. 5 overall national seed in the 2013 NCAA Softball Tournament, and will host a regional beginning this Friday. The Sun Devils will open up regional play against San Jose State, and will be joined in the bracket by San Diego State and Georgia.

Head coach Clint Myers guided ASU to a 45-10 record this season despite losing several key players, including All-American Katelyn Boyd. A perrenial contender, the Sun Devils will look to return to the Women's College World Series for the third straight year and the the seventh time over Myers' eight seasons. Myers has led ASU to national championships in 2008 and 2011.

This is ASU's 25th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and the ninth straight year in which they've earned a spot.

ASU features a potent and balanced threat to the rest of the field. The starting pitching duo of Dallas Escobedo (25-4, 2.31 ERA, 289 strikeouts) and Mackenzie Popescue (19-6, 2.03 ERA) present an imposing challenge to opposing lineups. Offensively, catcher Amber Freeman leads the team with a .385 average to go along with 16 home runs and 58 RBI, and Florida transfer Cheyenne Cole has been a powerful force with team-highs in home runs (19) and RBI (60).

The first pitch between ASU and San Jose State will be a 3 p.m. on Friday at Farrington Stadium in Tempe. Television coverage will be on ESPNU. The regional round will be a double-elimination round.