Opinion: 'G' Juarez is as dominant as they come

The Sun Devil ace is having one of the best seasons in the country

It’s hard to tell where ASU’s softball team would be this season without Giselle “G” Juarez.

The sophomore left-hander has been one of the best pitchers in the country this season and has helped catapult the team to the seventh spot in the latest NCAA rankings.

With Juarez leading a talented pitching staff, there’s no reason to think ASU doesn’t have a realistic chance at a trip to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series, as well as potentially winning its third NCAA title.

“They definitely look poised to make a run,” said Andrew Bell, ASU softball beat writer for The State Press. “’G’ has been so dominant, but you can come upon some really good teams (in regionals and super regionals). Pitching and defense could take you a long way.”

Juarez has been the definition of “lights out” in 2018.

In 22 games, she has pitched to a 17-1 record with a 0.70 ERA and has recorded 201 strikeouts. She hasn’t lost a game since Feb. 8 against the University of Tennessee, and her most recent accomplishment is a 15-inning victory with 15 strikeouts against Oregon State University.

It's dominance in every sense of the word. 

“She has really connected with her catcher and gotten better and better,” Bell said. “She’s on pace to be one of the best players to ever wear an ASU softball jersey. She mixes speeds well, and her coaches have said her ball is always moving. She’s already climbing up record books. She’s going to continue to get better, and that’s the scary part.”

Dallas Escobedo, who is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished pitchers to come through ASU in the program’s history, may be one of the best players to compare Juarez to. 

In Escobedo’s successful 2011 season, she pitched in 255.1 innings, compiling 324 strikeouts and a 1.51 ERA. It’s hard to get much better than that. 

Juarez’s ERA is well on pace to beat out Escobedo’s best ERA, and she could come very close to eclipsing her in strikeouts as well. 

The next few weeks are going to be pivotal for ASU softball. With series scheduled against No. 3 University of Oregon and No. 12 UA over the next two weeks and a series against No. 4 UCLA coming mid-May, it’s a critical time for the team. 

In essence, Juarez is going to need to be at the top of her game, and there’s no reason to think she won’t be. Her performance is also a rallying point for her teammates and could propel the Sun Devils through the upcoming stretch and into the postseason.

“When (you’re) pitching so dominantly, (your teammates) rally around you,” Bell said. “You hardly see balls even get to the outfield against her. When you know it’s going to a tight ballgame, it makes playing more fun and easier.”

Regardless of what fans or analysts want to speculate about the next month of ASU softball, the team should do just fine because of their ace in the circle. 

Juarez is leading a Sun Devil team hungry for a championship, and she has the capabilities to get ASU to OGE Energy Field in Oklahoma City next month to play for the national title.


Reach the columnist at Steven.Slobodzian@asu.edu or follow @PSlobodzianASU on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. 

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