Game One: Arizona State bats erupt for 10 runs, 11 hits in win over North Dakota State
Three errors from the North Dakota State Bison helped spring Arizona State to an early lead. After two innings the Sun Devils led 8-2, but only three of their runs were earned. Arizona State (28-4, 5-1 Pac-12), though, finished the game winning 10-2 over North Dakota State (19-11).
On offense, sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez lead the team with three hits, including her sixth home run of the season on her solo shot in the second inning. Freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson and junior left fielder Skylar McCarty both had multi-hit games.
Senior designated player Nichole Chilson was one of only two Sun Devil starters without a hit, but contributed three RBI in the contest. Freshman third baseman Bella Loomis also added a RBI for the Maroon and Gold.
Senior right-handed pitcher Breanna Macha allowed three hits and a run in the first inning against the Bison. However, it was smooth sailing for the senior after her offense came back to give her five runs of support in the bottom half of the first. Macha finished the game allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six in a complete five inning game.
“Huge. You never want to put up some runs in the first inning on the defensive side,” Macha said about the early run support. “But having them have my back, it’s definitely a stress off my shoulders. It’s always nice to have them come and hit for me.”
Arizona State are now 5-0 in its all-time meetings with North Dakota State.
Game Two: Juarez tosses first career no-hitter against BYU
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez pitched in her first game since receiving pitcher of the week accolades from Pac-12, NFCA and USA softball, but she did something she hadn’t all year. Juarez tossed her first career no-hitter on Friday.
Arizona State (29-4, 5-1 Pac-12) captured the victory 7-0 against BYU (17-16) behind Juarez’s gem.
“Good, cause you know all hitters are top-level hitters at this level. I didn’t realize it till the end,” Juarez talked about the feeling after the game. “Whoever came up behind me and hugged me they said it to me. And I was like ‘oh wow.’ Just excitement. It’s great that my team had my back offensively.”
Juarez previously threw four complete game one-hitters this season. The sophomore’s only blemishes came in the second inning when she walked and hit a batter. Juarez struck out 11 Cougar batters in her historic performance.
“‘G’ is just fun to watch. She’s in it. We have some really cool conversations about how to attack hitters,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said about watching her pitcher’s moment. “It’s like a proud mom when you see your kid grow up. She’s growing up right in front of our eyes. I’m just impressed with the person she’s becoming.”
Although the hits didn’t come in the flurry like they did in the first game, the Sun Devils still brought in the runs. Using patience against the BYU pitching staff, the Devils walked eight times and scored on two wild pitches.
Of the seven Sun Devil hits, none went further than sophomore left fielder Brianna “Breezy” Wise’s. Wise led of the fifth inning with a solo home run to left center for her first one of the season. The Sun Devil bench wasted no time to congratulate their teammate and Wise talked about the support.”
“So exciting. I mean it’s like a dream come true,” WIse said. “Without my team it’s nothing. Hitting home runs nice, but without the team it’s nothing it.”
“I was really proud that she came in and was ready to go,” Ford said. “That’s a tough spot to be in. And she came in that’s a 3-0 count. She got the green light. She didn’t miss. That kid she comes and gets extra swings from January all the way through now. You’re always happy when that type of player performs in those situations.”
The Sun Devils have extended their winning streak to six. They’ll return to Farrington Stadium on Saturday for another doubleheader against North Dakota State and BYU.