Devils Edge Horned Frogs in Game Two

Ryan Kellogg’s focus under pressure and RJ Ybarra’s homer lead Arizona State to a 7-6 victory over TCU.

Today marked the fourth game in a row where Arizona State has spotted its opponent a couple of runs or more, but this trend is of no concern to R.J. Ybarra. “It is one of those things where you don’t want to get behind,” Ybarra said, “but when you do you know it is good to know we haven’t had an easy start to our schedule and we have played a couple tough opponents. It is good that we are able to battle back and put runs on the board and still win ball games.”

For the second time in two nights, the hit by pitch rule controversy continued. The ball hit Sun Devils’ Johnny Sewald on his lower neck, yet the umpire yet ruled that he made no effort to avoid this pitch.

“I think it is a bad rule that has too much leeway,” said coach Tracy Smith.

Horned Frogs get a big jump in the top of the second. Having two men on base, freshman Zach Plunkett goes yard to right center hitting the scoreboard, as the visitors took a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second Coltin Gerhart singled to center, driving in Ybarra scoring ASU’s first run of the afternoon. In the third inning the Sun Devils plated four players. Sun Devils Colby Woodmansee then hits a RBI sacrifice fly to right field driving in Brian Serven, followed by the play of the game where RJ Ybarra’s three-run homer drove in Jordan Aboites and Johnny Sewald to put ASU up 5-3.

"It's easy to get offense going when you've got (Ryan) Kellogg on the mound,” Ybarra said, “who you know is going to give you a quality start, quality pitches and keep you in the game.

“I thought (the home run) was going to be a pop fly quite honestly. I guess it carried pretty well out there today. It was just one of those things that got runs on the board for us.”

"Very pleased and proud of (Ybarra) for coming out and really putting us all on his back offensively today,” said skipper Tracy Smith.

After 7.2 innings Kellogg pitched 113, retired 11 batters in a row, and struck out seven total.

“The biggest thing with him (Ryan Kellogg) is, if you are going pitch in this program you are going to compete,” Smith said. “After his fielding mistake. One thing you will never question with Ryan Kellogg is whether he is going to compete. Even after stilly mistakes that he knows better, he has it covered on the right side. Some guys will let that affect their next pitch. He is good at letting it go and focusing on the next pitch.”

In the top of the eighth Ryan Burr replaced Kellogg on the mound with runners on first and second and two outs. TCU’s Jeremie Fagnan hit an RBI double down the right field line cutting down their deficit to 6-5.

In the bottom of that frame with the bases loaded Jake Peevyhouse was put in to pinch hit for Trever Allen and flied out to right field and driving in Ryan Lillard extending the Sun Devils’ lead to 7-5.

ASU surrendered a run in the top of the ninth due to a throwing error, but Burr registered two strikeouts in that inning to preserve today’s win and notch his 27th career save.

“The great thing is we aren’t even playing our best baseball yet,” said Ybarra “We’re playing good enough to win, but we’re not where we want to be yet. It’s good that we’re getting behind and are able to hit well enough to battle back.”

“I’ll live with an error as long as it’s aggressive,” Smith said. “Our defense has actually been much better, but today it was a little sloppy. We’re fortunate it didn’t cost us the baseball game.”

The Sun Devils will be gunning for their second home series win as they face the Horned Frogs Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in a rubber match.

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