ASU Softball: Devils Open Series Versus California

Sep 24, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky looks on against the California Golden Bears at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils won 51-41. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky looks on against the California Golden Bears at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils won 51-41. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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After losing two of three games versus Arizona, ASU softball begins a season-ending six-game home-stand Friday with a three-game series versus California.

ASU softball (28-16, 7-11) open a three-game series versus California Friday looking to begin their final home-stand of the season strong.

The Sun Devils are coming off a tough series at No. 3 Arizona last weekend losing two of three games.

In the first game of the series, Arizona State was unable to hold a 3-2 lead as Arizona scored a run in the third and fifth innings as ace pitcher Danielle O’Toole was able to hold down ASU for a 4-3 victory.

Arizona State bounced back Saturday with a 5-2 victory behind the strong pitching performance of freshman Giselle Juarez throwing a complete game allowing 2 earned runs on 6 hits while striking out 7 Wildcats.

Offensively, home runs by Fa Leilua and Marisa Stankiewicz powered ASU to the victory.

On Sunday, it was a rough performance as the Sun Devils were run-ruled 8-0 in five innings as the Wildcats hit 4 home runs off three Arizona State pitchers.

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Now ASU will look to turn the page and continue their strong home record versus Cal.

The Golden Bears (27-19, 3-14) have been struggling as of late losing six of their last seven games with the lone win coming in non-conference play versus UC Davis.

The six losses were all in Pac-12 play as they were swept at UCLA two weeks ago and last weekend versus Washington.

Cal’s 3-14 conference record has them eighth in the Pac-12 standing as they look to boost their resume for the NCAA Tournament.

Despite the poor Pac-12 record, Cal is currently No. 25 in the latest RPI standings but would look to finish the season strong and pick up quality wins versus No. 23 Arizona State this weekend.

The Golden Bears pitching rotation sports a 3.19 team ERA with pitcher Zoe Conley leading the way.

Conley, in 37 appearances (30 starts), has a 17-12 record with a 2.73 ERA with an opponents batting average of .273 along with 130 strikeouts and 79 walks in 182 innings pitched.

In total, Cal has used six pitchers this season with Conley leading the group by far in starts as the next closest Golden Bear in starts is pitcher Stephanie Trzcinski with 9 starts.

Offensively, Cal is a contact-oriented team that relies on their speed on the base paths to produce runs.

The Golden Bears have a team batting average of .270 with only 10 home runs but have stolen 46 bases in 57 attempts.

Utility player Jazmyn Jackson leads Cal with a .349 batting average, 29 RBIs and an OPS of .996.

The Sun Devils will likely have a rotation of Breanna Macha Friday, Juarez Saturday and then either Macha or Dale Ryndak Sunday.

Arizona State will look to continue their home run barrage (46 home runs this season) versus Cal, who’s allowed 29 home runs this season.

Next: ASU Softball: Wildcats Run-Rule Devils in Series Finale

The Sun Devils seek to win this series before ending the season next week versus UCLA. First pitch Friday is set for 5 p.m. PST and can be seen on Pac-12 Bay Area.