"This kid is a winner," said Murphy, "He came here as a two way player, then he started pressing in both areas. He just hasn't been sharp; his future is in the mound. His stuff was good, but he threw with conviction."
The Rainbows (24-14) got on the board first against Swagerty in the 4th. Vinnie Catricala led off with a single and came all the way around to score on a double to the left centerfield gap by Kevin Macdonald. Macdonald moved up to third on a sharp groundout by Kolton Wong, but Swagerty left him at third by striking out the last two batters of the inning.
The Sun Devils (29-8) finally broke for Swagerty in the bottom of the fifth, by manufacturing three runs. Alex Capaul started his second inning of relief by walking Kole Calhoun on four pitches and then was removed after starting Jared McDonald with two straight balls. Harrison Kuroda entered and finished the walk to McDonald with two straight balls of his own.
Raoul Torrez dropped down another sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners and Zack MacPhee gave the Devils the lead with a two run single to left. Kuroda then threw away a pickoff attempt and the speedy MacPhee scampered all the way to third. Drew Maggi made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly to center that plated his middle infield partner.
Swagerty went right back to work after getting the lead and retired the Rainbows 1-2-3 in the 6th and it only took just five pitches to do so. The freshman threw just 22 pitches to work through the 5th, 6th and 7th inning without allowing a run.
The Devils igniter Drew Maggi sparked the rally that put away the game in the 7th. The freshman led off with a rope down the right field line and slid head first into third just ahead of the tag for a leadoff triple. Jason Kipnis brought him home with his 51st RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly to left and ASU led 4-1.
After manufacturing their first four runs, ASU's power got them more in the 7th. On a night with no wind, Carlos Ramirez muscled a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence for an opposite field home run. The ball kept carrying and eventually landed on Rural Road for Ramirez' 13th home run of the season.
Matt Newman followed with a double over the centerfielder Kolton Wong's head that caused the Rainbows to make another pitching change. Pinch hitter Johnny Ruettiger greeted Lenny Linsky with a double down the left field line to score Newman and ASU led 6-1.
After a walk to Kole Calhoun, Jared McDonald tripled into the right centerfield gap that brought around both runners to extend the lead to 8-1. Raoul Torrez drove in McDonald with a high chop groundout to the pitcher and a run scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to make it 10-1.
ASU piled on more runs in the 8th off of Rainbow's reliever Alexander Myers. Matt Newman started things with a one out walk and was followed by a single off the bat of Johnny Ruettiger. Pinch hitter Riccio Torrez then connected for his 3rd home run of the season to stretch the lead to 13-1. After Myers got McDonald to groundout, the junior walked Raoul Torrez and Zack MacPhee made it hurt with a two-run blast to right.
The pattern continued as Myers walked Drew Maggi and then Kipnis followed with a homer to right, his 11th of the season.
Swagerty worked seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits to earn his first career victory. The freshman struck out six and did not walk a batter, showing sharp control and a good fastball. He left before the top of the eighth to a standing ovation from his teammates and the fans at Packard Stadium.
"He was the difference maker in the game," said Murphy, "Don't underestimate Hawai'i, they are a good club, they flew all the way out here to play this game today. There is a reason they have beat Coastal Carolina and Irvine."
Jason Franzblau worked the 8th inning and didn't allow a run, despite having runners at second and third. Kyle Brule allowed a leadoff double in the 9th, but got a pop out for the first out before being removed for Jake Borup. Borup allowed a walk and struck out a batter before Hawaii native Jeeter Ishida who allowed a walk and an RBI single before recording the last out of the game.
Drew Maggi continued his hot streak with a 2-3 day that included a triple, an RBI, a run scored and two walks. The freshman also had a sac fly and reached base four times to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Johnny Reuttiger entered the game in the 7th, but finished the day 2-2. Zack MacPhee drove in four runs and went 3-5. Kipnis added three RBI's to extend his Pac 10 lead to 53.
"Maggi makes this team go," said Murphy, "MacPhee will get down on himself and throw his helmet but he will continue to compete and get himself out of it."
The Devils will now take their four game winning streak into Berkeley for a three game weekend series with Cal (18-19, 5-10 Pac 10). Since there is no lighting at Evans Diamond, all three games will be held in the afternoon, with Friday's opener starting at 2 PM. ASU enters the Pac 10 series with a 3.5 game lead over second place Oregon St. and Washington St. The Beavers are at UCLA for the weekend and the Cougars are also in LA, to face USC.
Josh Spence is questionable to make his start this weekend. The lefty took a ball to his middle finger before his start against Stanford and they are waiting for the swelling to go down.
"He is a wait and see," said Murphy, "We aren't going to rush him along. The swelling has gone down some but he still isn't 100%."