By: Brian Kreps- Contributing Writer
FULLERTON, Calif.— The No. 2 seed Arizona State Sun Devils hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning to come from behind Friday afternoon to win 7-4 against the No. 3 seed Clemson Tigers in game one of the NCAA Fullerton Regional.
First year skipper Tracy Smith sent junior pitcher Ryan Kellogg to the mound to kick start regional play for the Sun Devils. Kellogg was clean for the first four innings but the Tigers took advantage of the fifth inning. Clemson’s Chris Okey got a man on base by drawing a walk. Okey advanced to second base on a sac-bunt. Weston Wilson drilled a single to move Okey to third base. Wilson was able to move to second base on a wild pitch. With 2-outs in the inning, Andrew Cox singled up the middle bringing home both Okey and Wilson.
Kellogg’s only two runs allowed came in the fifth inning. His work was finished after seven innings giving up two runs on six hits and added six strikeouts.
The Sun Devils had an answer in the bottom of the fifth from Trever Allen who hit a solo-home run to cut Clemson’s lead to just one run.
In front of a crowd of 1,478 people, the Devils used the seventh and eighth innings to rally. Joey Bielek and Brian Serven hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning to give the Devils the lead. And ASU’s bats weren’t done as they tacked on three more runs in the eighth inning.
Pitcher Darrin Gillies had a clean eighth inning for ASU but struggled in the ninth letting the Tigers score two runs. He had the tying run at the plate before Ryan Burr entered the game. The All-American closer struck out the last batter to nail down the win for the Sun Devils, helping them advance into the winner’s bracket.
With the win, the Sun Devils will face Cal State Fullerton Saturday at 8 p.m. at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif. If the Devils can knock of the No. 1 seeded Titans, ASU will advance to the NCAA Super Regional. Coverage of game two can be heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.