ASU softball sweeps Utah

The No. 9 Sun Devils swept the Utah Utes over the weekend

Coming off of a 2-4 homestand against two top-10 opponents, the No. 9 ASU softball team took to the road to take on the Utah Utes for a three-game series that resulted in a series sweep for the Sun Devils. 

Facing a Utah team that has picked up just two conference wins, and who graduated a lot of talented players from last year’s NCAA Super Regional team, the Sun Devils came away with three consecutive wins in Salt Lake City.

Game One:

In Friday’s contest, ASU’s offense exploded as the Sun Devils rolled to a 12-0 victory in five innings over the Utes.

Freshman infielders Denae Chatman and Danielle Gibson combined with sophomore outfielder Kindra Hackbarth to record nine RBIs, and all three players drove in three runs. 

ASU junior outfielder Morgan Howe also had three hits and two RBIs, and the Sun Devilspicked up a dominant win that featured seven different players who came up with hits.

As for the goose egg on the scoreboard, ASU sophomore pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez continued her stellar sophomore campaign by hurling five innings of shutout softball while fanning eight Utes in a shortened game.

Game Two:

ASU followed Friday night’s performance with a 7-2 win on Saturday afternoon. 

Heading into the fifth inning, ASU and Utah were knotted at one. However, after a couple of Sun Devils found their way on base to load the bases, Howe delivered a shot that would break open the game. 

With one out, Howe swung at a pitch near her shoe tops, and drilled it into the right center field gap to clear the bases for a three-RBI triple.

ASU junior infielder Taylor Becerra would later pick up an RBI triple, and redshirt senior infielder Marisa Stankiewicz solidified the insurance with a two-run home run in the seventh inning to deliver a knockout punch.

After dealing with minimal run support in her previous two starts, ASU senior pitcher Breanna Macha was able to get the help that she needed on the scoreboard on Saturday. Macha delivered a complete game in the circle while only allowing two runs to pick up her 11th win of the season. 

Game Three:

In the final game of the series on Sunday, ASU came up with a hard fought 4-3 win, with the Utes putting up a valiant effort to try and salvage a game on their home field.

In the first inning, Utah senior infielder Heather Bowen hit a two-run home run that would put the Utes up 2-0 early.

However, the Sun Devils were able to scrap and come up with a couple of timely two-out hits to fend off Utah.

With ASU runners on first and third, and a couple of missed opportunities to drive in runs, Chatman took a pitch on the inner half of the plate, and drove it over the left center field wall to allow the Sun Devils to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. 

Utah would tie the game courtesy of a solo home run off of the bat of junior outfielder Ally Dickman in the fifth inning, but ASU would answer right back in the sixth.

After working counts and drawing two leadoff walks, ASU sophomore catcher Maddi Hackbarth stepped to the plate.

With the go-ahead run just 120 feet away, Hackbarth deposited an RBI single right back up the middle of the diamond to plate Howe from second base, and eventually secure the 4-3 ASU win.

Backed by two shutout innings from Juarez, ASU picked up the sweep, and although Utah might be falling upon some struggles this season, no wins are taken for granted in a lethal Pac-12 conference.

With every win throughout the rest of the regular season, ASU can inch closer to possibly securing one of the top-eight seeds heading into the NCAA tournament, which would mean that one of the roads to Oklahoma City would run through Tempe. 

Up next for ASU

Up next, ASU will take part in a non-conference, midweek doubleheader at New Mexico State before returning home to host Stanford for three games next weekend. 

First pitch for game one of a doubleheader between ASU and New Mexico State is set for Tuesday, May 1 at 2 p.m. PST.


Reach the reporter at atbell1@asu.edu or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

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