ASU softball splits midweek doubleheader with Iowa

The Sun Devils dropped game one before taking down the Hawkeyes in game two

Riding high on an 11-game winning streak, the No. 13 ASU softball team hosted the Iowa Hawkeyes for a midweek doubleheader at Farrington Stadium on Wednesday night.

ASU split the two games, falling to Iowa 3-1 in the first game before responding with a 9-0 rout in game two.

Game One: 

In the first game, Iowa put up one run in the fourth inning, and two runs in the fifth, which was all they needed behind a strong performance from sophomore pitcher Allison Doocy.

Doocy threw a complete game while allowing just one run and striking out eight Sun Devils.

She dealt with traffic on the base paths in the later innings, but the right-hander was able to stay the course and keep the ASU bats at bay by mixing her pitches.

“She’s very good (Doocy) and we made her look even better,” ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. “She pitched a hell of a game, and we didn’t make the adjustments necessary.”

Despite a strong outing from Doocy, ASU wasn’t flustered the entire game and they fell just short of a comeback in the later innings from the team’s lone RBI off of the bat of sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez.

Iowa had three different players with RBIs, and the Hawkeyes stole a game on the road with a pitching staff that had a combined 1.73 team ERA heading into Wednesday's contest. 

Earlier this season, the Hawkeyes upset No. 11 Baylor, and the win was the team’s second win against a ranked opponent. 

While the loss might have dampened the mood for ASU, the Sun Devils didn’t stay down for long with the second game of the doubleheader looming.

Game Two:

With a sense of urgency after being taken down on its home field, ASU came out and trounced Iowa 9-0 in the second game, taking control from the first pitch.

“We weren’t going to get swept on our own field,” ASU redshirt senior second baseman Marisa Stankiewicz said. “It came from within, and it was a sense of knowing that we were not going to get beat the second game.”

With that attitude in mind and a disussion with their coaching staff, ASU scored nine runs in four innings, and the offense was backed by yet another masterful performance from sophomore pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez.

Juarez put the clamps down on Iowa’s offense, tying her career-high in strikeouts with 13 in just five innings pitched.

Juarez allowed just one hit with no walks, and the sophomore continued her assertive dominance over opponents in Wednesday night’s win.

“We are a gritty team. That’s what we are about,” Juarez said. “We fight every pitch and every inning, and I think that’s what makes me most comfortable (in the circle). I know we are going to fight no matter who we are playing and what the score is.”

As for the offense, Stankiewicz recorded two RBIs, senior outfielder Nichole Chilson was 2-3 with two RBIs, and freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson was 2-3 with a three-run moon shot that she hit in the fourth inning to make the score 9-0.

Gibson continues to lead the Sun Devils in home runs and RBIs as a freshman, and her tear in non-conference play has her more than ready to begin Pac-12 play on Friday.

“It’s going to be hard,” Gibson said of Pac-12 play. “It’s going to be exciting to see us face Pac-12 pitching. All of these girls are legit, so it’s going to be fun.”

While ASU might have only come away with one victory on Wednesday, the Sun Devils were not the only ones in the conference who fell to a Big 10 opponent. No. 5 Arizona lost to Minnesota at home on Wednesday, a team that ASU just swept over the weekend.

With non-conference play now in the rear view mirror, ASU will get ready for a heavyweight tout when No. 1 Washington enters Farrington Stadium to begin Pac-12 play this weekend.

First pitch of game one between No. 13 ASU and No. 1 Washington is slated for this Saturday, March 17 at 5 p.m. MST.

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