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ASU Softball: Sun Devils swing series with win in Tucson

(Photo: Michael Barron/WCSN)

It’s senior weekend in Tucson, but it was a freshman who stole the show Saturday with an impressive performance from the pitcher’s circle.

The No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the No. 3 Arizona Wildcats 5-2 Saturday, their first road win against a ranked team all season.

Freshman Giselle Juarez silenced the high-powered Wildcat offense, only allowing them to score on a two-run homer by senior Katiyana Mauga in the sixth.

Juarez pitched all seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out seven. It was her sixth win of the season, as well as her sixth complete game.

Juarez struggled to control her pitches in the first frame, as she walked a batter, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. Nevertheless, the Sun Devils got out of the inning unscathed.

Then, the freshman locked into her zone after getting her first run support in the second inning, courtesy of a solo home run by sophomore Fa Leilua. Juarez retired 9 of the next 10 batters she faced, striking out six and only allowing one hit, a double by senior shortstop Mo Mercado.

The Sun Devils then continued what Leilua started, displaying the combination of plate discipline and power that’s gotten them runs all season.

Junior Nichole Chilson hit a two-out, two-run triple in the fourth inning scoring junior Marisa Stankiewicz and senior Chelsea Gonzales, after they both walked earlier in the inning. Chilson then scored on a throwing error, which put ASU up 4-0 at the midpoint of the game.

Stankiewicz added to the lead in the sixth, as she hit a solo home run to left field, giving ASU a fifth insurance run. The dinger was her sixth on the year, and her first hit of the series.

Mauga’s two-run home run in the bottom of the inning made it a game though, and the Wildcats didn’t go out quietly.

Arizona was down three going into the final frame, and got two of its first three batters aboard via base hits.

Juarez wasn’t going to let them come back though, as she closed out the Wildcats in what looked like her night almost from the start.

The rubber match of the series will be Sunday at 5 p.m. in Tucson.

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