Sun Devil head coach Trisha Ford wasted no time to pull the plug on her starter. Cielo Meza walked three consecutive Ducks in the second and Ford rushed to the circle to hand the ball to Samantha Mejia. Mejia provided her coach the performance she wanted.
The Fresno State transfer escaped the jam in the second and felt little pressure on her way to her 14th win of the season. Mejia went 5.2 innings, allowed one hit and kept Oregon (22-28, 5-17 Pac-12) scoreless the entire game. Behind the pitching performance, Arizona State (31-18, 11-11) won 4-0 on Thursday.
The offense starter early as shortstop Jade Gortarez drilled a ball past the outstretched arm of Oregon center fielder Haley Cruse for a double early in the first. Gortarez scooted into second base easily and watched all three of her teammates score for a quick 3-0 lead.
The opportunity presented to her after the patience showcased by the top of the order. Duck starter Jordan Dail opened the game with two inside strikes to leadoff hitter Morgan Howe. The senior center fielder battled back to earn a walk. Skylar McCarty and Kindra Hackbarth loaded the bases by free passes.
Gortarez added a single later on and moved Hackbarth to third after she doubled. A success double steal by the pair plated Hackbarth for her 100th run of her Sun Devil career and ASU’s fourth run of the game.
The shortstop’s most spectacular play of the day was produced by her glove. Curse collected the Ducks’ first and only hit of the game. The next batter, Allee Bunker belted a line drive headed for left field. Gortarez leaped and snatched the ball out of the air for the out.
The Sun Devils will try to take the series on Friday with a 5:00 p.m. start against Oregon.