Cougars Fall Short in Series Opener to ASU - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cougars Fall Short in Series Opener to ASU

PULLMAN, Wash. – The top three hitters in the Arizona State lineup combined for eight hits in a 7-4 victory over Washington State at Bailey-Brayton Field, Friday.

With the win, the No. 23 Sun Devils (25-16, 10-9 Pac-12) took the opener of the three-game Pac-12 Conference series with the host Cougars (21-17, 7-8 Pac-12).

"Early on, I liked our approach," Washington State Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. "Innings 4-5-6, we expanded the strike zone and it took us out of our rhythm."

Arizona State took a 4-0 lead after an inning and a half against Washington State starter J.D. Leckenby (4-4). In the first, back-to-back, one-out doubles gave the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead and a two-out error by center fielder Kyle Johnson allowed two runs to score. Arizona State added a run in the second on a two-out single and triple.

In the bottom of the second, Tommy Richards was hit by a pitch to open the inning and Collin Slaybaugh walked with one out. Johnson drilled a two-out, two-run double off the wall in left-center field to cut the Cougars' deficit to 4-2.

From there, Arizona State starter Brady Rodgers (8-2) settled down and retired 11-straight hitters. Andrew Aplin's two-run home run in the seventh highlighted a three-run inning to increase the Sun Devils' lead to 7-2.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Johnson singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Patrick Claussen. Ard worked a walk to end the night for Rodgers. With two outs, Adam Nelubowich added an RBI-single to pull the Cougars within 7-4.

In the ninth, Johnson led off with a single, but Jake Barrett retired the final-three men he faced to record his seventh save.

GAME NOTES

Bobo Brayton, Washington State's head coach from 1962-94, was honored before the game as a State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame inductee…Taylor Ard's 17-game hitting streak was snapped…Washington State recorded at least one double play for the 15th-straight game.

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