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ASU Softball: No. 7 Sun Devils travel to Oregon State looking to remain atop Pac-12 standings

The Sun Devils won two of three against OSU last season.

Brady Vernon/House of Sparky

This past weekend the No. 7 Sun Devils swept four games against North Dakota State and BYU. Now Arizona State (31-4, 5-1 Pac-12) continues conference play when they take on the Oregon State Beavers (20-15, 3-6 Pac-12) this weekend.

The Sun Devils and Beavers face off at 12:05 p.m. Friday, before a 3 p.m. game Saturday, and end the series in a noon Sunday matchup.

This is only the Sun Devils’ second true road series of the year. These will also be the first games all season that the Sun Devils play that aren’t in the state of Arizona or California.

“We just keep doing what we’re doing,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “We’re in a routine, and the more we can keep them in a routine, the better we are. They’re in a good place. We’re not out here for 1400 hours. We are minimizing some of that are their workload and just keeping them feeling good.”

Last season, Arizona State took two of three from the Beavers, outscoring them 23-5. Reigning Pac-12 and NFCA player of the week, senior second baseman Marisa Stankiewicz had two home runs and four RBIs in that series.

Coach Ford had a little fun with Stankiewicz after she received the national honor earlier this week.

“I embarrassed her. I was dorky mom,” Ford said. “I found out after practice Tuesday. We had our Wings of Gold event, I go up to Stank and she’s in the circle with a bunch of friends and I’m like ‘National Player of the Week!’ And she’s like mortified.

“And then of course what does the mom do? I tease her some more. Her and I were sitting at the table together last night (Tuesday), so everybody that came up I was like ‘do you know that this is the National Player of the Week this week?’ And she’s giving me this look of ‘I’m going to kill you.’”

As the Sun Devils look ahead to this weekend in the opposing circle, they’ll face junior Meehra Nelson (11-6, 2.10 ERA) and freshman Mariah Mazon (8-9, 2.61 ERA) who’ve combined to throw 200 innings for Oregon State this season. Senior first baseman Alysha Everett leads the Beavers in average, including batting .400 in conference play. Of Oregon State’s 22 home runs, seven of them come off the bat of freshman designated player Hope Brandner.

Despite finding themselves toward the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, the Beavers have been struck with a rigorous schedule. They won their opening conference series against No. 24 California, before dropping their next two to No. 3 UCLA and No. 5 Oregon. The Beavers also have had non-conference games against No. 6 Georgia, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 11 Auburn, No. 14 LSU, No. 18 Long Beach State and No. 19 Louisiana.

Sun Devils’ freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson comes into this weekend fourth in batting average and sixth in slugging percentage among the conference. The team’s third baseman competition between junior Taylor Becerra and freshman Bella Loomis will continue, as neither took a step above the other this past weekend.

This is the first series of a difficult stretch for the Sun Devils as after they return home from Corvallis they will host No. 5 Oregon and No. 9 Arizona on back to back weekends in Tempe.