(Photo: Michael Baron/WCSN)
Game 45: Arizona State vs. California
The Sun Devils are coming off of a tough series against the Arizona Wildcats in which they won one of three games. This left ASU with a 7-11 conference record that places it sixth in the Pac-12 with 28-16 record overall.
The last game of the series was an 8-0 ASU loss, but the team needs to rebound this weekend for another series against the University of California.
Cal is in eighth place, which is second to last in the conference, with its 3-14 record. The Bears have not fared well in Pac-12 play, but its overall record is 27-19.
The Bears are currently trudging through a three-game losing streak with the most recent loss being a 3-2 defeat against the Washington Huskies.
Pitching Battles Ahead
Arizona State is very familiar with its defense being the key to winning games. That may be the case again as both ASU and Cal are formidable when it comes to pitching.
ASU junior Breanna Macha in sixth in the Pac-12 with an ERA of 1.67. Macha holds the same ranking in walks allowed with 22 on the year.
Fellow junior pitcher Dale Ryndak is second in the conference in that same category with only 17 walks, while Cal senior Stephanie Trzxinski is in fifth with 19.
From a statistical standpoint, the Bears have the upper hand in a couple of categories concerning pitching. Sophomore Zoe Conley is second the Pac-12 in innings pitched with 182 and Conley’s 17 wins on the year have her tied for third.
However, the Sun Devils make up for that as they are first in the conference when it comes to strikeouts. The combined total for the team is 235 and Cal has 166, which leaves them in seventh place.
ASU has had to rely on its defense or the entire season, but more so as its faces the top teams in the Pac-12.
Despite this, ASU is second to last in the conference with a .279 batting average. This may seem like an advantage for Cal, but it is last with a .267 average.
The Bears are also last in the number of home runs as they have only scored 10 this season. Arizona State has had over four times that amount as they have managed 46 home runs. ASU is fourth in that category.
Nonetheless, California cannot be counted out as junior Jazmyn Jackson leads the conference in doubles with 16 and is third in triples with three.
Additionally, sophomore Lindsay Rood tied for fourth in stolen bases with 11 and senior Khala Taylor is one place behind her teammate with 10.
For the Sun Devils, the usual suspects will most likely be the ones to contribute to the scoreboard.
This would include senior Chelsea Gonzales, who is 14th overall in the conference with a .365 batting avg. She also leads her team with a 42 RBI and with 10 home runs.
ASU senior catcher Sashel Palacios is right behind Gonzales with eight home runs.