Sun Devil softball cruises to a 6-0 win over Minnesota

ASU hasn't allowed a run in five games

ASU shut out Minnesota 6-0 in front of a packed house at Farrington Stadium on Friday evening. The Golden Gophers are coming off of their best season in program history, when they went 56-5 during the 2017 campaign, but No. 14 ASU softball has not allowed a run in its last five games, and in that span, the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 38 -0.

ASU came out and got to work immediately. In the first inning, ASU sophomore pitcher Giselle “G” Juarez struck out three Minnesota hitters, and that set the stage for the offense.

Junior outfielder Morgan Howe came to the plate and launched an opposite field home run to give the Sun Devils an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.

It would be an omen of what was to come for the ASU offense, as it blasted three long balls on Friday night.

“It’s great to know that anybody at any given time can make a play or be the one,” Howe said of ASU’s recent dominance. “It’s great to know that 1-24, somebody is going to get it done.”

Howe finished Friday’s game with two RBI and two hits, but her stellar performance was downplayed by the power of freshman first baseman Danielle Gibson.

In Friday’s game, Gibson took lift off, belting two mammoth home runs to record four RBI. The freshman now has eight home runs to lead the team in long balls.

“I am still thinking simple (in the box),” Gibson said. “I am just sticking to my plan on a first pitch and being aggressive, and swinging at strikes. It’s just keeping it really simple.”

Gibson and Howe were responsible for all six ASU RBI, and that would be all Juarez needed for the rest of the game.

In the circle, Juarez delivered a two-hit gem while tying her career-high in strikeouts with 13.

“I just kind of think pitch-by-pitch and inning-by-inning,” Juarez said. “I take it slow. I kind of just continue to stay calm and think about my game and my routine.”

With Gibson and Juarez both being underclassmen and so many young players stepping up early in their careers, the future of the program looks as bright as ever, and it has left some of the upperclassmen in awe. 

“We are going to have some great girls," Howe said. "The freshmen right now and G, Gibby (Gibson), and Bella (Loomis),  it’s sickening. I wish I was that good as a freshman. It’s just crazy. I am super excited to see how much they are going to grow. They have already grown so much … give them four years, and it will be disgusting.”

With a 19-2 overall record and a dominant performance against a solid Minnesota squad, the Sun Devils  look to be getting better, and the young season has the looks of something special, and people have taken notice.

“We are building something great here," ASU head coach Trisha Ford said. "I think the reason why Ray Anderson brought me here was to get this going and get this culture going, and really get this program back and moving in a good direction. We have done a great job and I think the coaches prior to us have done a great job, it’s just continuing to build.”

Up next, ASU will have Saturday off before hosting Minnesota for a doubleheader on Sunday. First pitch for game one is set for 2 p.m. MST.

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