After being shutout in its series opener by the dominant arm of Oregon freshman Maggie Balint, No. 21 ASU softball finally found its offense Saturday afternoon in game two, but ultimately lost to the undefeated Ducks on the road by a final score of 8-4.
The Sun Devil offense put together more hits in the top of the first inning Saturday than it recorded all of Friday with just two singles, but were unable to produce runs until the second frame.
In the second, junior outfielder Nichole Chilson doubled with two on to open up a 1-0 lead. ASU (23-11, 2-6 Pac-12) stranded two, but gained a crucial early advantage.
The Ducks (32-0, 7-0 Pac-12) answered in the bottom half of the second by way of a fielder's choice to tie things at one.
In the third inning, ASU loaded the bases with one out, and put up another run by way of another fielder's choice, and another off of Chilson's second double to lead 3-1, which brought an early end to the day of Oregon's standout sophomore pitcher Megan Kleist (10-0, 1.15 ERA).
It looked like freshman pitcher Giselle Juarez (4-4, 2.28 ERA) would give the Sun Devils full momentum when she put down the first two batters in the third, but a quick two-run home run for the Ducks erased the advantage.
Four more runs in the next two innings – two on a fielder's choice and two on separate sacrifice flies – put the Ducks in full control. An RBI single by sophomore outfielder Skylar McCarty gave ASU one more run, but there wasn't enough gas left in the tank for a comeback.
The Sun Devils put together a rally in the seventh with bases loaded and one out, but the Ducks sent out Balint (15-0, 0.88 ERA) to shut things down just like she did in all seven of Friday's innings.
ASU will be back in action for the series finale in Eugene, Oregon, Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT.