TEMPE, Ariz. – Sophomore right-hander Amber Fiser threw another gem of a game for Minnesota (14-10) recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in a series finale 4-0 loss to No. 14/14 Arizona State (21-2). The host Sun Devils hit their way past the Gophers in game one for a 9-1 win in five innings.
“I knew that I had to go in there and control what I could control one pitch at a time,” said Fiser of her performance. “I felt good on the mound [this weekend] and we keep coming together as a team to stay strong.”
Game one | No. 14/14 Arizona State 9, Minnesota 1 (5 innings)
Minnesota came out of the gates swinging as Kendyl Lindaman and MaKenna Partain began the opener with back-to-back singles. The Gophers with three hard hit balls later all found their way into Sun Devil gloves to strand a pair of runners.
Scoring first, Arizona State used a two-out home run from cleanup hitter Nichole Chilson to take an early 2-0 lead on the Gophers.
Responding right back, Minnesota manufactured a run in the third to bring the deficit to one. Freshman outfielder Ellee Jensen led off the inning with an infield single, while one batter later Lindaman gave the Gophers a pair of ducks on the pond taking a pitch off her elbow. A pair of strikeouts attempted to foreshadow another scoreless inning, but Maddie Houlihan made it a distant memory. On the eighth pitch of the at bat, Houlihan found the gap in left center allowing Jensen to cross the plate.
Scoring a run woke up the sleeping giant in Arizona State’s bats. The Sun Devils began connecting on pitches from Minnesota starter Sydney Smith. Back-to-back home runs in the fourth and a four-run fifth inning gave the hosts a shortened game victory.
Game two | No. 14/14 Arizona State 4, Minnesota 0
In a rematch of starters from game one of the series on Friday, the weekend finale proved to be a pitcher’s duel between Fiser and ASU’s G Juarez. The starters surrendered no hits through the two opening frames.
Fiser kept the strong offensive team of ASU off balance, striking out seven of the first 11 hitters faced. Keeping the Gophers in the game, Fiser notched a career-high 11 strikeouts along the way while allowing one earned run.
Senior infielder Sydney Dwyer posted the lone hit for Minnesota in the fourth before being retired at second trying to stretch it into a double.
ASU took advantage of a leadoff walk to begin the fourth before scoring the first run of the game on a pass ball two batters later. The Sun Devils put up two more unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth following a pair of Gopher errors, a single and a double. Adding an insurance run in the sixth, Dainelle Gibson led off the inning with a home run over the left field wall to solidify a series sweep.
Minnesota continues their 10 day spring break trip as they travel to Tucson Arizona to take on another top-10 opponent in Arizona on Wednesday, March 14 at 8 p.m. CT
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