No. 8 ASU softball cruises past BYU and North Dakota State

ASU softball picked up four non-conference wins over the weekend at Farrington Stadium

Coming off back-to-back wins that included a no-hitter in a doubleheader on Friday night, No. 8 ASU softball picked up two more wins on Saturday afternoon with non-conference wins against North Dakota State University and Brigham Young University.

ASU picked up four wins between the two opponents over the weekend, moving to 31-4 with the wins on Saturday.

Game One: North Dakota State University

Fresh off a no-hitter against BYU on Friday night, ASU sophomore pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez started the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with a five-inning, one-hit gem that spurred the Sun Devils to a 9-1 win in five innings.

Juarez was perfect through five innings, and the only hit she allowed in the game was a solo home run off of the bat of North Dakota State junior first baseman Vanessa Anderson

The run ended Juarez’s spurt of 79 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, but it was the only blemish on yet another masterful performance from the sophomore left-hander.

“It’s going to happen,” Juarez said of the home run. “That’s part of the game. I knew it was going to end at some point, but it’s better than having it against Oregon State, Oregon or any of the Pac (Pac-12) schools. It reminds me that I have to focus in a little bit more during practice or during the games, so it happens.”

While the big fly might have proven that Juarez was human, she still managed to stymy the Bison bats, delivering nine strikeouts in a shortened ballgame. 

As for the offense, ASU had its full arsenal on display.

Sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez was 2-4 with three RBIs, redshirt senior infielder Marisa Stankiewicz was 2-2 with a home run and four RBIs, and the Sun Devils were relentless with six different players picking up multiple hits.

“Today we just came out and swung the bats,” Gortarez said. “I think everybody was really focused in on just enjoying the game that we play, so I am really proud of everyone all the way around. I think we had a lot of positives from this weekend.”

Game Two: Brigham Young University

In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, ASU knocked off BYU 10-3 after trailing 1-0 in the first inning of play.

In the first inning, the Cougars played small ball, relying on a couple of bunts and a sacrifice fly off of the bat of junior utility player Libby Sugg to give BYU an early 1-0 lead. 

However, the lead was short lived, and things changed in a hurry after a couple of free passes and one swing of the bat in the second inning.

After recording two quick outs, BYU sophomore pitcher Kerisa Viramontes walked three straight Sun Devils.

Then stepped up ASU sophomore outfielder Kindra Hackbarth, who had never hit a home run in her college career. 

In an 0-1 count, Hackbarth got a pitch up at the belt, and she did not miss it. The Fresno State transfer proceeded to launch a towering fly ball over the right center field fence, and that made the score 4-1 ASU.

“With my luck, I thought she was going to catch the ball,” Hackbarth said with a laugh. “It was awesome. I obviously have never hit a home run (in college), but I was just so happy. ... It was an amazing feeling.”

The home run changed the course of the game, and it was backed by two more long balls off of the bat of Stankiewicz, who finished the game with three home runs and seven RBI.

“I was definitely seeing the ball really well today,” Stankiewicz said. “I didn’t want to do too much and I didn’t want to take extra that I didn’t need to (with her swing). I was feeling pretty good.”

Backed by the pitching trio of seniors Dale Ryndak and sophomore Alyssa Loza, ASU went on to cruise to victory against the Cougars.

Up next, ASU will get back to conference play when they travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State. The three-game set will start on April 6.

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