No. 16 ASU softball keeps rolling with two wins on Saturday

The ASU softball team picked up two wins over Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State on Saturday night

Game One: Coastal Carolina

After knocking off Coastal Carolina in a tight game on Friday night, the No. 16 ASU softball team returned to action on Saturday afternoon against the same opponent in their second game of the Devil Classic.

In a complete turnaround of Friday’s game, ASU throttled the Chanticleers 8-0 in six innings at Farrington Stadium.

Sophomore pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez tossed a gem for the Sun Devils, setting a new career- high in strikeouts with 13, and senior outfielder Nichole Chilson blasted a three-run home run in Saturday night’s game.

“We got better in both games (today),” Juarez said. “Our at-bats got stronger ... I think our biggest thing is just focusing on us, and just worrying about us no matter who we are playing or how close the game is.”

In Saturday’s game with Coastal Carolina, walks plagued the Chanticleers. Junior Ashley Guillette got the start in the circle for Coastal Carolina, and the right-hander recorded five strikeouts, but walks ultimately led to her demise.

Guillette walked six batters in four innings pitched, and ASU eventually took advantage of the free passes as the game wore on. 

After stranding a couple of base runners in the early innings, ASU sophomore outfielder Kindra Hackbarth came up in a bases loaded situation in the fourth inning. 

Guillette walked the bases loaded, and Hackbarth made the pitcher pay by lacing a two-out RBI single into left center field. The single made the score 3-0, and the rest of the Sun Devils would tear the game open from that point.

Chilson blasted a three-run homer in the fifth, and freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson then brought the NCAA run rule into effect when she picked up two RBI’s in the sixth inning on a towering double off of the left field wall.

“It’s my senior year and I am just having as much fun as I possibly can,” Chilson said of her productive day. “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, and I am just going up there and really focusing on getting a good strike, and getting a good swing on it.”

With the win, ASU improved to 15-2 with one more game left to play on Saturday night.

Game Two: New Mexico State  

In ASU’s second game of the day against New Mexico State, the Sun Devils outlasted the Aggies 3-0 in a pitching duel between both sides.

New Mexico State sophomore pitcher Samaria Diaz sustained a tough loss, hurling five innings of shutout softball before eventually surrendering three runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. 

Diaz threw six innings and allowed just four hits, but it still wasn’t enough to keep the ASU bats quiet for the whole game.

In a 0-0 game in the bottom of the sixth inning, ASU redshirt senior infielder Marisa Stankiewicz blasted a solo home run to dead center field to finally break through the scoreless stalemate.

The big fly was Stankiewicz’s first home run of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for ASU. 

“It was a little quiet (offensively), but we had a feel on our team that we weren’t going to lose this game,” Stankiewicz said. “It was going to come maybe in the later innings like it did, but it was a sense from within … it was a sense of confidence.”

Following Stankiewicz’s home run, junior third baseman Taylor Becerra reached base on an NMSU error, and that allowed Stankiewicz’s counterpart in the middle infield to step up to the dish.

With one out, ASU sophomore shortstop Jade Gortarez launched a low-liner that cleared the left field fence to give the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead, and the eventual victory. After the game, the two companions could only relish in each other’s success, even adding a little humor to the successful sixth inning.

“It was fun because we are bash bros,” Gortarez said. “I couldn’t let her (Stankiewicz) shine on her own.”

Stankiewicz added to Gortarez’s point.

“As soon as she got it (the home run), I was like, ‘you couldn’t let me shine for one game?’” Stankiewicz said.

Along with stellar defense and a combined shutout from senior pitchers Dale Ryndak and Breanna Macha, the Sun Devils moved to 16-2 with two wins on Saturday.

Up next, ASU will host South Dakota on Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m. MST at Farrington Stadium.

“I think the chemistry on this team is amazing,” Stankiewicz said. “I wouldn’t say it’s better than last year’s, but it’s definitely a different feel than last year … we know we are a good team if we put all the aspects together.”

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