Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/25/12
TEMPE, Ariz. -- For a second straight week, the Arizona State softball team will take the field with its season hanging in the balance. But this time the No. 3 seed Sun Devils will be playing from behind. No. 14 seed Louisiana-Lafayette (53-4) shut out ASU (49-9) 6-0 in the Tempe Super Regional opener Thursday night, and ASU is now just one loss away from an unsuccessful national championship defense. Lose Friday's first game, and the Sun Devils' run at the Women's College World Series is over. Following a loss to Syracuse last weekend, ASU responded strongly with a win to stave off elimination and reach the Super Regional. ASU coach Clint Myers believes his team can do the same Friday. "We've got to go out and be the team that we know we are, which we weren't tonight," Myers said. "No excuse, we've just got to play better. "We figured it out last weekend. We know what we have to do." ASU was uncharacteristically inept at the plate Thursday, reaching base just three times and collecting just two hits as ULL freshman pitcher Jordan Wallace dominated the Sun Devils for the second time this season. Wallace held ASU to two runs on five hits in the Ragin' Cajuns 9-2 win over ASU in March. Thursday she allowed just two hits and a walk. While the Sun Devils struggled last weekend to be as aggressive as they wanted at the plate, they succumbed to over-aggressiveness against Wallace. ASU made 16 of 21 outs in the air and Wallace needed just 71 pitches to put them away. ASU senior shortstop Katelyn Boyd said her team was unable to capitalize on having seen Wallace once before. "It was the same stuff," Boyd said. "There were no surprises. We just didn't hit like we know how. We know what adjustments we have to make. We have to reevaluate individually and hope for the best tomorrow." Added Myers: "We're a much better hitting team than what you saw tonight." ASU's offense Thursday didn't look like a team that averaged 7.05 runs per game entering the night. ULL's, meanwhile, looked like the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation it is, using a pair of home runs and three-run seventh to get the victory. The adversity that ASU has now faced over two weekends is a stark difference from the perfect 10-0 run that carried them to the national championship last season. Thursday's loss was the first in a Super Regional at home in program history, and just the third home loss in the postseason under Myers. While the Sun Devils entered play in last Sunday's Regional needing just one win to advance, they take the field Friday needing back-to-back wins to keep their season alive. ULL may have the upper hand, but Myers believes his team plays some of its best softball with its back against the wall. "They know what they have to do," Myers said. "At the beginning of the year we said 'We make no excuses.' We have to play better, we have to hit better, we have to pitch better." ULL co-head coach Michael Lotief knows just what ASU is capable of and after the game made it clear his team won't be celebrating its Game 1 win, instead anticipating the Sun Devils' response. "It's going to be another war again tomorrow," Lotief said. "We don't take anything for granted. It's a good team in that other dugout. This series is a long way from being over. Our kids understand that." For Lotief and ULL, the series and season is at least two games from being over. For ASU, it could be just one. The Sun Devils know the challenge they face Friday, and they are not ready for their season to end yet. "We have another day," Boyd said. "We're not done. We've just got to keep looking ahead. A lot of teams have lost the first (game of a series) and dominated the next two." Game 2 starts 6 p.m. PT on Friday at Farrington Stadium while Game 3, if necessary, is set for 8: 30 p.m.
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