Center fielder Kasey Coffman fell a double short of the cycle and collected three RBI to lead the 15th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team to a 6-3 victory against USC on Saturday at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles.
Coffman went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, a triple and a pair of singles, and scored two runs to pace the Sun Devils (21-1-1, 7-7), who have the opportunity to win the three-game road series Sunday. Catcher RJ Ybarra drove in two runs and designated hitter Nate Causey added two hits.
Starting left-hander Ryan Kellogg (8-0) earned his eighth win of the season after allowing two runs on eight hits and striking out one in six innings.
Right-hander Darin Gillies threw two scoreless innings of relief and retired six straight batters after giving up a leadoff base hit. Right-hander Ryan Burr took over in the ninth and struck out before coercing a flyout to center field to end the game.
Ybarra stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning and knocked a two-run single up the middle to give the Sun Devils an early 2-0 advantage. Coffman and third baseman Michael Benjamin, who both singled to start the frame, scored from second and third, respectively.
The Trojans(13-21, 6-8) cut ASU's lead in half in the bottom of the third with an RBI single by Adam Landecker, but the Devils responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to push their lead to three, 4-1. Right fielder Trever Allen singled and moved to second on an error before Causey drove him around on a base hit, and Causey scored two batters later on a single by first baseman Dalton DiNatale.
USC used three singles in the seventh to pull within two, 4-2, and had runners at the corners with one out. Pinch hitter J.R. Aguirre attempted a bunt to bring the lead runner home, but Kellogg ran in and threw him out at home to record the second out of the inning. He induced a fly out to right field in the next at-bat to preserve ASU's two-run lead.
Coffman drove a two-out pitch over the right field fence for a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to extend ASU's lead, 6-2.
USC starting right-hander Wyatt Strahan (1-2) gave up four runs on eight hits in his second loss of the season.
The Sun Devils face the Trojans in the series finale Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU with Dari Nowkhah and Sun Devil alum Paul Lo Duca on the call. It will also be broadcast on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 or through the All-Access player on thesundevils.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter at @ASU_Baseball for live scoring and updates from the weekend, and check thesundevils.com for stats, notes and more.
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