Coffman, ASU Power Past UCLA in Game Two

Kasey Coffman's two home runs in the game Friday night helped the Sun Devils (15-7-1, 5-3) win their second straight game against the No. 4 Bruins (17-6, 5-3).

Coming off his no-hitter against Oregon State, freshman lefty Ryan Kellogg (6-0) came out strong. He got the top of the UCLA lineup to go three-up, three-down with one strikeout and two fly balls. The Sun Devils started quietly as well, with second baseman James McDonald's double to right center being the only hit of the inning.

UCLA came out swinging in the top of the second. Pat Valaika led off the inning with a single through the left side. After a groundout, there was another Bruin single, scoring Valaika and giving UCLA an early 1-0 lead. Catcher Max Rossiter caught a runner stealing and the final Bruin batter of the half-inning flied out. After going 0 for 4 Thursday night, left fielder Jake Peevyhouse led off the Sun Devil half of the inning with a double to center.

Drew Stankiewicz grounded out but Nathaniel Causey doubled down the right field line, scoring Peevyhouse and tying the game. Freshman centerfielder Johnny Sewald put up one of the toughest at-bats of the night against UCLA. Clearly wearing down starting pitcher Nick Vander Tuig, Sewald was able to battle at the plate and drew the walk. Kasey Coffman then blasted a no-doubter over the right field fence, making the score 4-1 ASU.

Both teams were scoreless in the third and fourth innings.

Bruins catcher Shane Zeile silenced the Sun Devil crowd in the top of the fifth when he powered a homerun over the left field fence. Kellogg showed maturity and poise following the homerun and quickly got the next three batters out. The only ASU action in the bottom of the inning was a single by James McDonald. The Sun Devils remained on top with the score at 4-2.

UCLA showed the Sun Devils that they weren't backing down in the top of the sixth. Kellogg gave up two doubles and single, tying up the score at four. With a new pitcher on the mound, ASU was ready to regain the lead in their half of the inning. Stankiewicz led off for the Sun Devils with a single through the right side. Causey then followed up with another single.

Freshman first baseman Dalton DiNatale hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Stankiewicz and giving ASU the lead again. Coffman then showed off his power once again and hit his second homerun of the night. The Sun Devils were ahead 7-4 heading into the seventh.

Kellogg was lights-out in the seventh. He got the UCLA batters to go three-up, three-down. More importantly, he didn't allow the Bruins to start a rally and decreased their chances of fighting back. The Sun Devils were unable to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.

The freshman was back on the mound for eighth. He allowed the lead-off batter to manage a single, but that batter was later left stranded on base. ASU went three-up, three-down in their half of the inning.

Ryan Burr was in to save the game for the Sun Devils in the ninth. Burr, who has been impressive all season, shut down the Bruins to secure his fifth save of the season.

Kellogg did not walk a batter for the second consecutive game and has now gone nineteen straight innings without issuing a walk. He has given up just five earned runs in the past 32 innings dating back to the sixth inning of his start against No. 2 Arkansas on March 2. Kellogg is the first freshman in more than 13 years to begin his career 6-0.

"My team was huge for me tonight. They scored a lot of runs so every time they (UCLA) would answer, our team would come back and answer too. It helped keep the energy in our dugout. It helped keep them on their heels and I think our team did a good job today staying on top." said Kellogg after the win.

The Sun Devil defense was also perfect tonight and did not have any errors for the second night in a row. The solid defense helped Kellogg remain confident throughout the game.

"I've always believed in them," Kellogg said, "but it definitely helps if we can keep stringing along games where we don't have any errors. Statistically you win more games when you don't have any errors. The less errors you have, the easier it is to win the ballgame and the less base runners, so we definitely have a lot of confidence in our players."

The player of the game was easily Kasey Coffman. His two homeruns gave the Sun Devils that boost of confidence they needed to win the series against the talented Bruins. "I just stuck with the plan that Esmay was talking about. He said ‘hunt the fastball' and that's what I did. I put a good swing on it" said Coffman.

"Kasey's starting to get some at-bats." said Head Coach Tim Esmay following the game. "He made a little minor adjustment with his hands and stuff. The great thing about it is he applied it and went out there and got the head to the ball. He's got some bat speed. He's got some tools and now he's learning how to hit the ball the other way but also get his hands to the ball. That's not average pitching that he's getting the head to. He did a great job against two pretty good arms to get his hands to the pitch."

The Sun Devils look to complete the sweep against the Bruins Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Packard Stadium. LHP Adam McCreery (1-3, 7.43 ERA) will be on the mound for ASU and LHP Grant Watson (5-0, 1.13 ERA) will be on the mound for UCLA.


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