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Arizona State Athletics | April 30, 2017

Sun Devils use HRs, pitching to even series with Arizona

  Arizona State took an early lead on the Wildcats and never looked back en route to a 5-2 win on Saturday.

Tucson, Ariz. -- Powered by five inning's of shutout softball, and three extra base hits, the 23rd- ranked Arizona State Softball team (28-15, 7-10) defeated third-ranked Arizona (46-5, 16-4), 5-2, Saturday evening at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.

Freshman lefty Giselle Juarez made the start in the circle for the Sun Devils in game two and delivered a gem. The Glendale, Arizona, native threw five scoreless frames, and held the nation's top offense to just two runs on six hits in the Sun Devil win. Juarez gave up just one walk while fanning seven in her sixth win of the season.

The Sun Devils took a one-run lead early as sophomore Fa Leilua blasted a solo shot to left center that gave ASU the lead early.

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Following a scoreless third, the Sun Devils added three more with a triple from junior left fielder Nichole Chilson that bounced off the top of the wall in right, bringing in Marisa Stankiewicz and Chelsea Gonzales, but an errant throw back in also allowed Chilson to score on the play.

With a 4-1 lead in hand, Juarez continued to deal, setting down six of the next eight batters she faced, sending the game to the sixth with ASU leading, 4-0.

Arizona State would add another in the sixth, when second baseman Marisa Stankiewicz blasted ASU's second home run of the night to make it a 5-0 lead heading to the bottom of the inning.

The Wildcats would not go quietly, as Arizona's all-time home run leader, Katiyana Mauga, blasted her 23rd home run of the season to make it a 5-2 game heading to the final frame.

The Sun Devils would threaten in the seventh, as Taylor Becerra bounced a one-out base hit through the middle to set the table for the heart of the order, but the Wildcat defense would hold to send the game to the final half inning with ASU clinging to a 5-2 lead.

Arizona would put the pressure on in the seventh, working a leadoff single, before moving the runner over on a one-out single to shortstop. A groundout to first would move both over to scoring position, with the tying run at the plate, but the Sun Devils would close the door with a loud groundout to Stankiewicz at second, that sealed the Sun Devil victory.

Saturday's win marked the second win for the Sun Devils against a top-10 team this season, after defeating No. 10 Utah in the opening game of the three-game series last weekend. The win also marked the first win over the Wildcats in the Trisha Ford era, and sixth win over the Wildcats since the 2014 season.

The No. 23 Sun Devils will be back in action tomorrow for the third and deciding game of the three-game series against third-ranked Wildcats. First pitch for Sunday's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.