ASU softball concludes Kajikawa Classic with win over UC Riverside

The Sun Devils remained undefeated with the win at 7-0

Following a double-header sweep on Saturday, ASU softball looked to add yet another win on Sunday to stay undefeated in the 2017 Kajikawa Classic, 7-0.

It was another stellar game of pitching for the Sun Devils, as they combined for ten strikeouts in their 4-1 win over the UC Riverside Highlanders. ASU finished the tournament 7-0 to remain undefeated on the young season.

“That’s how you draw it up, they executed the plan very well,” head coach Trisha Ford said. 

Freshman pitcher Giselle Juarez, who made her second start of the tournament days after her college debut, didn't make it easy for the Highlander batters.   

Juarez struck out seven batters, allowing just one hit on one walk through just three innings. 

Freshman pitcher Alyssa Loza came in and pitched two innings of her own, adding another strikeout to the tally. 

“I had a game plan going in, that I wanted the two freshmen to get some innings in," Ford said. "I thought Giselle came out and threw lights out, Loza came in and banged that strike zone well, and Dale (Ryndak) did what Dale does."

Ryndak pitched two innings, striking out two while giving up just one hit. However, that one hit accounted for UC Riverside's only run -- a homer of the bat of junior catcher Jenae Lockwood with two outs in the seventh. 

Ryndak and junior pitcher Breanna Macha have had to take on the additional roles of closing games in addition to being starters. 

“We got to teach Dale and Bree how to come in and close games, and I think they’ve done a great job at that this weekend,” Ford said. 

The Sun Devils pitching did the heavy lifting until ASU's offense came on late. Better late than never. 

It was the redshirt junior infielders -- Marissa Stankiewicz and Margaret Stahm, who brought the offense with a pair of two-run homers.

With ASU having just one hit going into the fourth inning, Stankiewicz broke the game open when she demolished a pitch over the right-field wall in the fourth inning that put ASU ahead 2-0. 

“In the beginning, we were squaring up some balls, it was just right at them, we couldn’t really string them together and get anything going,” Stankiewicz said. “I was just thinking, we need to get something going. I was trying to connect on the ball and I did.”

Next, it was Margaret who crushed a no-doubter over the left field wall that increased the Sun Devil lead to 4-0. 

Those two home runs were all that ASU needed to keep their undefeated start to the season alive.

“This is what’s expected, what we need," catcher Sashel Palacios said. "This is Sun Devil softball, and we’re just going to keep pushing one day at a time. (Pac-12) doesn’t matter right now, it’s the next game, and the next person that we need to beat up on.”

The Sun Devils look to carry their winning momentum into the next tournament on their schedule, the 2017 Littlewood Classic, which begins on Friday against Illinois State

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