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ASU Baseball: Sun Devils pounce on Wildcats early, capture series victory in process

(Photo: Kimmy Davis/WCSN)

No. 5 Arizona State (23-9, 11-3) clinched their 5th consecutive Pac-12  series of the season over  No. 24 Arizona (22-11, 7-7) by a lopsided 13-7 score.

However, this was in no way a complete performance by ASU, as its usually strong pitching faltered for good portions of the game. Starter Ryan Kellogg had a pedestrian effort, giving up ten hits, four earned runs, and two home runs.

“He [Kellogg] was behind, he was behind every hitter,” Head Coach Tracy Smith said. “It seemed like it was 2-0 for every single guy and I said when I went out there was just concentrate on strike one, get ahead and then don’t be so fine. Mix up your pitches and whole plate them if you have to because they are a very good hitting team, and when he got behind he had to go to his fastball and they did some damage with it.”

Luckily for Kellogg, the Sun Devils had their second highest offensive output of the season, recording 13 runs and 16 hits in the process.

“It’s funny because that was one of the few times all year that we actually had our pitcher have the ability to pitch comfortably,” Smith said. “However, I don’t know if I liked it because we weren’t as sharp out there. But sometimes you got to win like that and I thought our guys did a really good job.”

Colby Woodmansee led the way for the Sun Devils with three hits, three runs, and four runs batted in-both career highs for the sophomore. Nine ASU batters recorded a hit, including four with at least two hits.

“Going into this weekend I was just trying to simplify,” Woodmansee said. “Just going back to the basics, staying back, getting your foot down. I think it helped yesterday and today so I’ll stick with it.”

Arizona stating pitcher Xavier Borde had a short outing today, thanks to Woodmansee and David Greer, who each knocked in two-RBI doubles that gave ASU an early 4-0 advantage.

With reliever Austin Schnabel taking the hill, the Sun Devils continued their offensive barrage, starting with an RBI single from Woodmansee that drove home Andrew Snow in the 2nd.

Brian Serven would follow with an RBI double to left, and Greer would cap the scoring with a sacrifice fly to put seven runs on for ASU.

However, the Wildcats would not roll over too easily. Arizona displayed their power early in the second with a Bobby Dalbec bomb to center field.

The home run derby was not over for the Wildcats, as Kevin Newman launched a two-run shot to left center field. The damage could have continued if it wasn’t for Johnny Sewald making a leaping grab and robbing Riley Moore of a home run to end the third.

“It is funny because last week at practice they were working on those wall balls again,” Smith said. “I kind of was in my mind on the practice field going, ‘What the heck are we doing, these stupid wall balls.’ Well it paid off, so I’ll just shut up and stay on the practice field.”

In the fourth, the Wildcats kept chipping away, highlighted by Zach Gibbons’ RBI single to cut the Sun Devil lead to just 7-4.

After another stagnant inning for ASU, Riley Moore tacked on another run for Arizona with an RBI double. In just three innings, the Wildcats transformed ASU’s comfortable 7-1 cushion into a slim 7-5 margin.

Just after Arizona tightened the game, ASU swiped the momentum back-starting with a Joey Bielek RBI double which drove in Trever Allen. Bielek would later score on a passed ball and extend the Sun Devil advantage to 9-5 after five innings played.

Kellogg would see his night end after he let the Wildcats load the bases in the sixth. However, Eric Melbostad would induce a groundout from Scott Kingery to end the inning.

The eighth inning is where the Sun Devils secured the win, beginning with a Woodmansee blooper to center that brought home Sewald. Woodmansee and Serven would later steal home on a wild pitches from Wildcat reliever Mathew Troupe. A Chris Beall RBI double scored the fourth run of the inning, and put ASU up 13-5.

Melbostad would end up allowing two runs in the top of the ninth, but they proved ineffective.

“It always feels good to get out there and establish a little bit of a rhythm,” Melbostad said. “I’m ready for whatever skip needs me to do. I was glad I got to finish that one and get the win over those guys.”

The Sun Devils will play the final game of the series tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Brett Lilek will toe the mound for ASU.


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