Offense explodes, ASU wins Oregon series

No. 21 ASU (19-8-1, 6-5) clinched the series with their 14-9 win over No. 11 Oregon (22-8, 8-3) Saturday night. The Sun Devils hit an impressive nine extra-base hits; dominating one of the best pitching staffs in the Pac-12.

Freshman lefty Ryan Kellogg (7-0) took the mound for the Sun Devils. Kellogg got things going for his team by pitching a three-up, three-down top of the first. Centerfielder Kasey Coffman led off for the Devils and reached on an error by the Ducks. Michael Benjamin then followed up with a triple to right field; scoring Coffman. James McDonald then grounded out to the Oregon shortstop, but hit in Benjamin. After two more Sun Devil outs, the inning was over but ASU jumped ahead early 2-0.

Kellogg got two quick outs in the top of the second, but the Ducks weren't about to go down in order for the second time in a row. After two singles and a walk, Oregon threatened but after another single, right fielder Trever Allen gunned down the runner at home to end the inning. The Ducks managed to get one run off Kellogg. Things were quiet for the Sun Devils in their half of the inning, but designated hitter R.J. Ybarra impressed once again. He doubled to left field, but was left stranded on base. ASU was ahead 2-1 after two.

The freshman impressed once again on the mound as the Ducks went three-up, three-down for the second time in three innings. Oregon had to face the top of the Sun Devil batting order in the bottom of the third. Coffman started things off with a triple to right field. Benjamin followed up with a single down the left field line; scoring Coffman. McDonald was up third, and doubled to left field; scoring Benjamin. The inning ended quickly after that, but ASU had increased their lead to 3.

The Sun Devil coaching staff, team, and fans couldn't ask for much more out of Kellogg as he produced another three-up, three-down inning in the fourth. Oregon came back with a three-up, three-down inning of their own. The score remained at 4-1 after four.

The Sun Devil lefty came back in the fifth and followed up his first four solid innings with another three-up, three-down inning. Benjamin started things off in the bottom of the fifth with a single through the left side. Max Rossiter singled to left as well. Jake Peevyhouse then doubled, but advanced to third on the throw. Benjamin scored on Peevyhouse's hit, but Rossiter was called out at home. Allen was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game, and Ybarra was ready to make the Ducks pay. He doubled to left; scoring Peevyhouse and Allen. The Sun Devils ended the inning with a 7-1 lead.

Kellogg struck out the first Oregon batter he faced in the sixth but the Ducks were ready to fight back. The next two batters singled and doubled respectively but Kellogg got the following batter to fly out to centerfield. Another Duck doubled down the left field line; scoring another Oregon run. Kellogg got out of the inning, but the Ducks scored two runs on three hits. McDonald was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the inning, and scored on a Rossiter double. That was the lone run of the Sun Devil half of the inning but they still had a strong lead.

Kellogg struck out the first batter of the seventh inning swinging. He hit the next batter, who was able to reach third on a single and an error on Benjamin. The Ducks base runner was able to score on a fielder's choice; but it was an unearned Oregon run. Following the seventh inning stretch, Allen was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game. Ybarra struck out swinging, but Allen stole second, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Drew Stankiewicz was the next ASU batter up and he was walked. Dalton DiNatale then pinch hit for first baseman David Graybill and singled through the left side; scoring Allen. Coffman was hit by a pitch; loading the bases with one out. Stankiewicz later scored thanks to an Oregon wild pitch. The score was 10-4 after seven.

Things got tough for Kellogg in the eighth as three of the four Oregon batters he faced in the top of the inning hit singles off him and one run scored. Senior Alex Blackford was then brought in to relieve the freshman. The first batter Blackford faced doubled to left center; bringing in two more Oregon runs. After a walk, a single, and four runs later, Matt Dunbar was brought in to stop the bleeding. He struck out the first batter and got the second batter to pop up to center field. The Sun Devil lead was cut to one.

The ASU offense showed passion in their half of the inning. Rossiter started things off with a double to left field. The Ducks pitcher hit another Sun Devil batter but this time the victim was Peevyhouse. Ybarra struck out swinging, but reached first on a wild pitch. Rossiter scored on the wild pitch. Stankiewicz was then walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Peevyhouse was able to score on the wild pitch as well. DiNatale smacked a double to right field; scoring Stankiewicz and Ybarra. The Sun Devils were back with a strong lead after eight.

ASU knew they had to hold the Ducks in the ninth. Dunbar was back on the mound and only allowed a double; securing the Sun Devil win.

"We needed to win today. We need to win tomorrow." said Dunbar after the game. "We've played two days in a row. Coming in and getting those two outs (in the eighth) was very huge. I wanted to keep doing what I've been doing."

What's next? The Sun Devils and Oregon are back in action Sunday afternoon for the series finale. RHP Billy Young (0-0, 1.74) will take the mound for the Sun Devils and the Ducks' Cole Irvin (5-1, 3.00). First pitch is at 12:30 p.m.

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