Game one: Sun Devils struggle against Doocy
Arizona State (21-3) didn’t have many answers for Iowa’s (10-8) Allison Doocy in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss in the first game of a doubleheader. The sophomore right-handed pitcher went the full game, limiting the Sun Devils to one run on six hits, while striking out eight Arizona State batters.
“She definitely had up-spin,” senior second baseman Marisa Stankiewicz said. “And it was not just her rise ball going up. It was her screwball and curveball that were breaking up kind of like ‘G’ (ASU pitcher Giselle Juarez). Everything she throws goes up and we couldn’t make adjustments soon enough.”
Despite Doocy’s performance, the Sun Devils did had missed opportunities at the plate. Junior designated player Skylar McCarty doubled with two outs in the second inning, but was left to dry to end the inning. An frame later, sophomore right fielder Kindra Hackbarth singled as well. She’d steal second and reach third on an error. That’s as far as she got.
Down 3-0 going into the sixth inning, the top of the Sun Devils’ lineup looked to get something started against Doocy. Hackbarth used her speed to drop a bunt single. Sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez ripped a ball to the right field corner for an RBI double to give ASU life.
The biggest moment of the game came as senior left fielder Nichole Chilson lined a single into center field. Gortarez and Sun Devils’ head coach Trisha Ford had a bit of miscommunication as the shortstop rounded third base. Iowa’s center fielder Allie Wood easily gunned down Gortarez after she slighted hesitated rounding third. After the game, coach Ford took blame for the miscommunication. ASU stranded two more runners at third base in both the sixth and seventh innings.
In the circle, senior pitchers Dale Ryndak and Breanna Macha split the game. Each allowed four hits a piece, Ryndak gave up one run and Macha allowed two. The allowed three runs was the worst performance the Sun Devils’ pitching staff has had in the past week, which speaks volume to their high play of late.
Arizona State saw their 11-game win streak come to an end with the loss.
Game Two: Arizona State rebounds quickly
The Sun Devils wasted no time to start a new winning streak. Reigning Pac-12 pitcher of the week, sophomore Giselle “G” Juarez, was great again in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader as Arizona State’s (22-3) won 9-0 against Iowa (10-9).
Juarez eclipsed 100 strikeouts on the season as she struck out 13 Hawkeyes, facing only 16 batters and allowed one hit in another shutout complete game.
“I think ‘G’ has been amazing. She’s fun to watch,” Ford said. “She’s got great rhythm on the mound. She’s throwing lights out right now. It’s fun to see somebody put it all together. She’s excited, she wants this role. She wants to lead us to the promise land.”
This time around, the Sun Devils got the bats going out the gate. Chilson was able to loft a soft line drive over the pitcher in the first inning. Hackbarth and junior center fielder Morgan Howe both came around to score on the hit.
In the second inning, Hackbarth’s speed forced an error by Iowa’s shortstop Aralee Bogar. The bad throw got Hackbarth to second and moved Stankiewicz to third. Gortarez picked up two more RBIs on the day with a single up the middle to extend the lead to 4-0.
ASU added another run in the third inning. Freshman pinch hitter DeNae Chatman picked up an RBI in the fourth inning before fellow freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson made the game 9-0. Gibson launched her team-leading ninth home run over the right field wall, bringing home Chatman and Hackbarth.
“We were tensed up and then loosened up knowing that we were playing our game” Gibson said. “After Chily (Chilson) hit that two-run RBI it was just like everybody was like okay this is Arizona State. If we play our game it’s going to be a lights out year. Play for one another, play for Arizona State it’s going to be a very good year.
Arizona State starts Pac-12 play Saturday as it plays host to No. 1 Washington for three games.
“I have a ton of confidence right now. I’m super excited for Pac, this is where our works really starts to show,” Juarez said. “I’m ready. Our whole team is ready to go. We’re fired up to play Washington.”