ASU baseball followed up its victory over Utah in the first game of the three game series with another win on Saturday, and more importantly, senior night.
The seniors, including Cory Hahn, who was paralyzed from the chest down after sliding into second base during his freshman season at ASU in 2011, were honored before the game at Packard Stadium.
If the Sun Devils were inspired by the pregame festivities, it certainly showed, beginning with sophomore pitcher Ryan Kellogg. Kellogg is now 8-2 on the season after giving up only one run in seven innings of work while only throwing 84 total pitches.
Coach Tim Esmay took notice of Kellogg’s play and said he is getting better as the season progresses.
“What I like about him is that hits don’t bother him,” Esmay said. “I think early in the year he was fresh and he really felt like the arm was good, so he was a little bit out of the zone and maybe trying to miss bats a little bit too much. I think he settled back into how he pitched last year.”
The Sun Devils were down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning after three straight scoreless innings, but sophomore catcher Nate Causey’s home run to right field seemed to energize the team as it went on to score in four consecutive innings.
Sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale scored after a single by junior second baseman Tyler Esmay in the fifth inning. Esmay would drive in two more runs in the sixth with another single.
In the seventh inning, junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz made a great hustle play from first base to score off a single by junior left fielder Jake Peevyhouse. Causey would go on to hit his second home run, a two-run shot that brought Peevyhouse home.
Causey, who is the first Sun Devil this season to hit two home runs, said he felt relieved that his shots are starting to go over the fence again.
“I get a lot of the warning track power stuff, but it’s just nice to start getting back into a little bit of a groove,” Causey said. “Honestly, helping us win is the biggest thing.”
This makes five wins in a row for ASU, which matches its longest win streak of the season. After reaching 30 wins seemed in doubt after losing four straight earlier in the month, redshirt junior second baseman Tucker Esmay said this streak shows that the team never quit on themselves.
“I think the biggest thing is that it shows how relentless our team is,” Esmay said. “We’ve had some losses a lot of the time this year it’s been one run or two runs. We haven’t been blown out this year. It just shows that our team is not going to quit, we’ve had a chance in the ninth almost every game.”
The final game of the series will be played Sunday at Packard Stadium at 12:30 p.m.
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