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ASU Softball takes two of three from Oregon State

Juarez leads Sun Devils to a series win pitching in both victories

ASU sophomore pitcher Giselle "G" Juarez (45) celebrates finishing a scoreless inning with teammates during the Sun Devils' 4-0 win over Minnesota on Sunday March 11, 2018 at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona

The Sun Devils traveled to Corvallis to take on Oregon State in a three game weekend series split between two games on Friday and one on Sunday, and ASU took two of the three games against the Beavers. 

Game 1:

During the first game on Friday everything turned up ASU, as the team cruised their way to a 10-1 win in five innings.

The Sun Devils started out on the right foot when junior outfielder Skylar McCarty slapped a double to left field and gave ASU a 3-0 advantage in the first inning.

That was more than enough for sophomore pitcher Giselle Juarez, who continued her dominate season.

The lefty pitched five innings while collecting seven strikeouts and keeping her ERA below 1.00.

The entire ASU outfield seemed to be on fire during the early game as junior Morgan Howe and sophomore Kindra Hackbarth combined for 4 RBIs.

Howe was 3 for 3, picking up three RBIs and two runs while Hackbarth picked up an RBI of her own along with two hits and two runs.

Game 2:

The nightcap was a different story for ASU. After an offensive explosion in the first game, the Sun Devils had trouble creating solid contact in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Beavers.

In the circle for the Sun Devils was senior Breanna Macha who pitched her seventh complete game of the year. Macha seemed shaky to start the game for ASU, giving up all four runs in first three innings. 

The Beaver offense seemed to overwhelm the Devils who didn’t even pick up their first hit until the third inning. 

The only runs for ASU came via the bat of freshman infielder Danielle Gibson who launched a two run home run in the top of the sixth to finally put the Devils on the board.

But it was too little too late as Oregon State’s freshman pitcher, Mariah Mazon, kept the Sun Devils scoreless in the seventh to hand ASU its fifth loss of the season and second in Pac-12 play. 

Game 3:

ASU brought Juarez back out for the rubber match on Sunday, and the moved paid off in the form of a 2-1 victory over Oregon State.

Both teams had trouble getting the offense going but in the top of the third, ASU broke through when sophomore infielder Jade Gortarez lined a double to right knocking in a run to make the score 1-0.

Juarez did her part to try and secure the win for the Sun Devils keeping the Beavers off the board for six innings, but in the seventh Juarez let a run sneak across to send the game into extras locked at one.

ASU and the Beavers struggled to get anything done offensively, matching zero for zero until the top of the 15th inning when the Sun Devils scratched a run across via a sacrifice fly from senior outfielder Nichole Chilson.

It was all from there as Juarez set down the Beavers 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the 15th to secure the 2-1 victory.

With this performance, Juarez has pitched 20 of the 27 innings that the Sun Devils played this weekend, allowing a total of 13 hits and just two runs. The sophomore leads the Sun Devils with an ERA of 0.70 and 17 wins.

With winning two of three at Oregon State marks the third straight Pac-12 series win for the Sun Devils, who are still in third place behind Washington and UCLA.

Next weekend, ASU will return home but the competition will not get any easier as it faces the No. 5 Oregon Ducks.

 Reach the reporter at and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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