Pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez took hold of Saturday night’s 9-1 win against Notre Dame. Juarez totaled 10 strikeouts, allowing only one run, three hits, and most importantly, earned a win.
Firing on all cylinders from the get go, the sophomore pitcher didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. It’d be the only mistake of the night for Juarez. Notre Dame’s Cait Brooks sent the ball flying over the left field wall.
The Sun Devil starting pitcher would allow a double to the following Irish batter, Abby Sweet, but Juarez regained her form and dominated the Notre Dame lineup the rest of the night.
“Everything was working. I was focused on spinning my ball and letting my ball dance,” Juarez said.
She bounced back after taking the loss in Thursday night’s season opener against Tennessee.
Juarez commented on the adjustments she made in Saturday’s win.
“I focused more on pitching, and pitching my game as opposed to letting anything else take over,” she said.
“I didn’t think she really struggled against Tennessee. She missed two balls. ‘G’ is an up-ball pitcher. Those balls in Arizona tend to go out.” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “I thought she threw well tonight. She’s special.”
Juarez also received praise from her new teammate shortstop Jade Gortarez.
“’G’ is a horse, I love playing behind her. Amazing pitcher, she just has that championship mindset. It’s fun to play with her,” Gortarez said.
The Texas transfer shined as well on Saturday night. After Taylor Becerra led off the game with a single for the Sun Devils, Gortarez would get her first home run as a Sun Devil. Driving the first pitch she saw over the centerfield fence.
“On the home run, it was really funny because last night I was talking to my teammate Taylor Becerra, talking about the games and at-bats,” Gortarez said. “She [Becerra] was like ‘You know what we’re going to get it tomorrow.’ I was like yeah, I’m gonna hit it out tomorrow.”
Gortarez lived up to her words by giving the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead in the first.
The Arizona State offense would capitalize on Notre Dame mistakes in the fourth inning. Pinch runner Ashley Moss scored on a wild pitch from the Fighting Irish’s Alexis Holloway.
The Notre Dame left fielder, Alexis Bazos then missed a catch on a fly ball from the Devil’s Nichole Chilson, allowing Arizona State to extend its lead, 4-1.
The Devils would add another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Marisa Stankiewicz.
The team capitalized again on the Irish’s mishaps, as Morgan Howe scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch. Howe added two RBIs earlier in the sixth inning as the Devils ended the game due to run rule with a 9-1 victory.
Arizona State will have a double header Sunday to finish the Kajikawa Classic. First pitch at 11:30 a.m. against Indiana and 4:30 p.m. against St. Mary’s (California).