After falling to conference rival No. 1 Oregon on Thursday, the No. 8 Sun Devils are on the brink of elimination; a scenario only made worse by a familiar opponent.
ASU will have to face two-time reigning national champion No. 4 Oklahoma on Saturday at 9 a.m. MST. The winner of this game will remain alive and face the loser of the game between No. 2 Florida and No. 3 UCLA, while the loser will be the first team to exit the Women’s College World Series.
This is not the first time that these two teams have faced, and for the Sun Devils it was not a good result when the two met in the Mary Nutter Tournament back in February, as ASU fell 7-2.
Oklahoma has had a strong approach both in the circle and in the box this season. Jocelyn Alo was named NFCA Freshman of the Year and her nationally ranked statistics help back up her case.
Alo finished the regular season fourth in RBIs with 70, third in slugging percentage at .970 and led the nation with 28 home runs.
The circle has featured a dominant lefty of their own in senior Paige Parker. The Big 12 Pitcher of the Year took the loss yesterday but has shut down hitters all season. Coming into the WCWS she finished 29-2, struck out 188 batters and posted an ERA of 0.86.
The Sun Devils had a lot to show offensively, after putting up six runs against Oregon pitchers Miranda Elish and Megan Kleist. The concern going forward is how will sophomore pitcher Giselle ‘G’ Juarez recovers after giving up 11 runs in six innings.
It is likely Juarez will start as senior righty Breanna Macha was the starter against Oklahoma back in February and did not fare well. But the pitching could have something to look forward to.
Oklahoma was shutout on Thursday by No. 5 Washington’s own duo of shut-down pitchers in Gabbie Plain and Taran Alvelo. Oklahoma was limited to just six hits in the 2-0 loss.
This is a chance for ASU to bounce back and not only continue its hot hitting, but shut down the Sooners’ bats to stay alive in the WCWS.