ASU softball dropped all three games on the road as Arizona’s pitching staff held ASU to a combined six hits over the weekend.
Coming off a sweep of conference foe Utah, No. 17 Arizona St. softball ran into its first stonewall of the 2019 season: the No. 11 Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona (27-7, 6-0 Pac-12) swept ASU (25-11, 5-4 Pac-12) to continue its perfect start to conference play, following a weekend pair of sweeps over the Oregon schools.
The Wildcat pitching staff threw a combined three shutouts, behind the hot hands of senior Taylor McQuillin and junior Alyssa Denham.
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In game one, McQuillin threw her first complete game shutout of the series, allowing only two hits to ASU batters, striking eight in a 8-0 victory.
The loss marked only the fourth time this season the Sun Devils hadn’t scored a run this season, but the weekend quickly increased that number to six after the series finale.
Following Friday’s loss, ASU sent freshman pitcher Abby Andersen to the mound to settle the score.
But once again the Sun Devils failed to produce on offense, managing only two hits for the second straight game in a 8-0 loss. Andersen (9-5) surrendered six earned runs in 2.1 innings, throwing her shortest start since Mar. 7.
Saturday’s game also marked the first time ASU had lost back-to-back games since Feb. 21.
Wrapping the weekend up in Tucson, ASU pitchers Samantha Mejia and Cielo Meza held the Wildcats to two runs on six hits, but once again the pitching battle went in favor of Arizona.
Junior transfer Mejia bounced back from a rough start Friday night, allowing only one run over three innings. But again ASU fell flat, losing 2-0.
McQuillin (12-5) threw her second shutout of the series, adding seven strikeouts to her resume and lowering her season earned run average to under 1.40.
As a whole the Sun Devil batting lineup managed only six hits against Arizona, striking out 19 times over the weekend. ASU batters left 12 runners on base and struggled to find any type of offense on the road.
On the other side of the field, Wildcat batters recorded 20 hits, tacking on 18 runs over the weekend sweep of ASU.
The Sun Devils now face the top team in the country, UCLA Bruins (32-1, 6-0 Pac-12), for a three-game home-stand beginning Friday.