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ASU Baseball: Ybarra swings Sun Devils to victory over TCU

R.J. Ybarra had his best offensive output of the season as the Sun Devils knocked off the top-ranked Horned Frogs.

Sun Devil Athletics

R.J. Ybarra had just one hit in 2015 entering the weekend series with TCU.

That changed Saturday afternoon as Ybarra had three big hits for ASU, leading the No. 17 Sun Devils (4-2) to a 7-6 victory over the top-ranked Horned Frogs (5-1).

The junior designated hitter's season-best day started in the second inning with a ground-rule double down the right field line after junior starter Ryan Kellogg surrendered a three-run home run to freshman catcher Zack Plunkett in the top of the inning.

Ybarra's hit sprung life into the Sun Devil offense, which was shut out by the Horned Frogs a day earlier, and he scored two batters later when freshman outfielder Coltin Gerhart singled up the middle.

An inning later, it was Ybarra again who sparked a Sun Devil offensive explosion.

Following a leadoff single and a sacrifice fly three batters later, Ybarra barreled a changeup over the left field wall for a three-run home run of his own, giving the Sun Devils a 5-3 lead.

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

Sophomore shortstop Colby Woodmansee singled home an insurance run in the fifth inning and the Sun Devils never surrendered the lead thanks to Ybarra and Kellogg, who hit his stride after the Plunkett home run.

The lefty, who won his ninth game over a top-15 ranked team, retired 11 batters in a row at one point before being lifted with two outs in the eighth inning.

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

The Horned Frogs managed two runs off Kellogg in the eighth, but Ybarra singled to lead off the bottom of the inning and his run, which proved to be costly, scored on a Jake Peevyhouse sacrifice fly.

Junior closer Ryan Burr surrendered a run in the top of the ninth and the Horned Frogs put the game-tying run on second base, but Burr got designated hitter Evan Skoug to strikeout for his ASU-best 27th career save.

The Sun Devils and Horned Frogs face off Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the rubber match of the series.