(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Allowing four hits in the first inning usually does not signify a good outing for a pitcher, but for Ryan Kellogg that wasn’t the case.
Kellogg was dominant during the rest of his outing, and never let Gonzaga’s offense get in a groove.
A 5-2 victory over Gonzaga puts the Sun Devils at 7-4 on the season, and finish the Phoenix Muni Classic 3-1.
Other than his poor showing in the first, Kellogg pitched wonderfully, as he stayed in until the eighth inning, gave up only one other earned run, and forced the Bulldogs to only five hits.
Coach Tracy Smith had high praise for Kellogg saying, “a lot of kids would pitch to the circumstances, the emotions of that inning, and it doesn’t affect him. Solo home run he steps right back up, pounds the strike zone – bases loaded – pounds the strike zone. I love that about him.
“He competes his rear end off, and I’ll take that any day of the week.”
Kellogg’s first pitch was one to forget, as Mitchell Gonsolus cranked a shot to right center. Gonzaga then hit three consecutive singles, but a double play ended the inning and kept the score 1-0 Gonzaga.
“I always thought the first pitch of the game was a free strike, apparently not anymore,” Kellogg jokingly remarked.
But after the first inning, Kellogg changed his approach a bit, and he never looked back.
“I just tried to keep the ball down a little better,” Kellogg said. “Came out left a few pitches up, had a few base hits and after that I just really focused on keeping the ball down, trying to keep the ball out of the air.”
ASU started getting to Gonzaga pitcher Andrew Sopko in the third with a Colby Woodmansee liner to center that scored Johnny Sewald and tied the game.
A shallow sacrifice fly from Jordan Aboites scored Dalton DiNatale in the fourth inning to give the Sun Devils a 2-1 lead.
The Sun Devil offense revved up in the fifth with an R.J. Ybarra groundout that scored Sewald. DiNatale added a fourth run with a double down the right field line that brought in Ryan Lillard.
“Hitting is pretty contagious with us,” Lillard said. “Once one guy starts hitting everyone else starts hitting.”
Jake Peevyhouse would score on an Aboites double-play groundout to give ASU a 5-1 lead in the sixth.
The only other major blemish in Kellogg’s performance was a solo shot in the seventh by Gonzaga’s Tyler Frost, which cut the ASU lead to 5-2.
After allowing a Justin Jacobs single to left, ASU closer Ryan Burr bounced back and struck out the side to secure the win over Gonzaga.
The next chance to see the Sun Devils will be at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale on Tuesday at 3:10 p.m. MT against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It’ll be a cool series to be a part of, especially since there are so many ASU alum in there.” Kellogg said, “I mean it’s always great to see the guys who’ve been through this program and see where they’re at these days.”
Smith, on the other hand, had a coach’s perspective on the exhibition game saying, “I think it will be fun, it will be great for ASU, and great for the community…but we’re gonna try to stay healthy.”