ASU Softball's attendance has increased since last season

Sun Devil fans are coming out to support their softball team

When freshman infielder Danielle Gibson stepped up to the plate before driving in the game-winning run against the No. 13 Arizona Wildcats on Friday, she could feel the intensity in the crowd.

Gibson was not bothered by the pressure, partially because of her ability to come in the clutch for ASU with a team-best 33 RBI on the year, and because the freshman has grown accustomed to playing in front of large home crowds all year. 

“It was fun to have the stands packed,” Gibson said after her walk off winner on Friday. “But it just felt like a normal game.”

No. 8 ASU reported that 2,045 fans were in the stadium during Gibson’s game winner even though the official maximum capacity is listed at 1,535. The reason behind this 510-person discrepancy is that ASU also sells standing room tickets.  

The Sun Devils are averaging 1,476 fans per game since they finished competing in their last regular season tournament (The Devil Classic, which took place March 2-3). ASU is also averaging 171 more fans per game than last year over that same stretch.

Since the end of the Devil Classic, ASU has sold out Alberta B. Farrington Stadium eight times over their 13 home game days.

All of this adds up to a playoff-like atmosphere whenever the Sun Devils take the field in Tempe, and head coach Trisha Ford is happy her team is gaining that experience.

“From a coach’s perceptive there is so much good that can come from this (playing in front of a large crowd),” Ford said. “Because they are going to get used to playing in these pressure situations.”

With the Sun Devils holding a top ten ranking since March 19, the likelihood of a prolonged postseason run, and a lot of pressure situations, is becoming a real possibility this season.

The increased attendance has made a big difference for all the Sun Devil players, especially sophomore pitcher Giselle Juarez, who is having a career year with a record of 19-2 and a 0.95 ERA.

Juarez said she expected the stadium to be sold out during the weekend’s games with the Wildcats and was excited to experience the rivalry for the first time at home.

“They (the fans) are the reason why we are here,” Juarez said. “I love having them here, it’s nice to be in our own atmosphere and know they are rooting for us instead of being down there.”

The Sun Devils have mostly competed in Tempe this season, and it's been to their benefit with a 25-6 home record in 2018.

If ASU can continue their level of success throughout the remainder of the regular season, it is quite possible that Farrington Stadium will play host to a section of regionals for the women’s college world series, maybe even super regionals if the team advances.

For Ford, hosting these tournaments and having the Sun Devils play in high-pressure playoff games will be a return to the ASU she knew while coaching at Stanford.

“Arizona State used to host regionals year-in and year-out, and they had this type of electric atmosphere,” Ford said. “Let it be loud, let it be silent. There (are) just great things that come from playing at home and playing in front of a really exciting crowd.”


Reach the reporter at Joshua.Zaklis@asu.edu and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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