Another thrilling win sends ASU to Omaha

Nobody expected game two of the super regional to be anything but another grind out, extra frame affair and Sunday night delivered exactly that. Luckily for the Sun Devils the result was to their liking for the second night in a row as they once again went 12 innings for their victory, edging Arkansas 7-5. Ironically, this win could of have been much less dramatic for the Sun Devils.

With two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, the Sun Devils' (52-8) closer Jordan Swagerty wasn't able to end the game, giving up a solo home run to Arkansas' (43-21) Brett Eibner who knotted the game up at five. It was a play that surely demoralized some of the 4,371 in attendance at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, but never affected the maroon and gold.

"That's what they have been doing all year long," Arizona State Head Coach Tim Esmay stated. "I'm not going to kid you – that was a tough road to haul. That's the stuff you think about when you play wiffle ball.

"But you don't get too many second chances in our game and I thought that ‘Swags' (Swagerty) did outstanding after that. He got back in the zone, made great pitches and kept us in the game. Talk about emotions going one way and then the other…but for us we have to keep the emotions as much as even because the game is still going.

Aside from that run, Swagerty who notched his second win of the year (2-0), allowed just three hits in 4.1 innings of work.

"I was thinking when I was up there that I was glad no one was on the base when he (Eibner) made that hit," Swagerty recalled. "I was still throwing and we haven't lost yet. My mentality was just let's win this game from here on out.

"We had one good inning and I was able to close it out and we got the victory. That's the most important thing. I didn't want that (the homerun) to happen, but after the fact it's something that I'm moved forward (from) and didn't think about. You can't be thinking about the past when you are on the mound."

Not dwelling on what took place earlier in the game is something that Drew Maggi had to exercise as well. He was without a hit when he stepped up to the plate at the top of the 12th, and his two-run RBI produced the last runs scored on Sunday night.

Maggi naturally didn't have a problem admitting that this was been the biggest hit of his career, but is also hopeful that even a more significant hit awaits him at the College World Series. "I was just looking for something to hit," Maggi said. "I went 0 for 5 and that point any at bat is the biggest at bat of the game. I just forgot everything that had happened and looked for a good pitch, I got one and got a good swing on it."

Just like Saturday, ASU jumped to a commanding lead early in the game. Zach Wilson had consecutive solo homeruns (his first career multi-homer game) in the second and third, and along with a Riccio Torrez's two-run blast the Devils were up 4-0 after three frames.

Arkansas scored two runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth. Deven Marrero's sacrifice scored Torrez in the seventh and gave the maroon and gold a 5-3 lead at that point. The Razorbacks scored on a James McCann RBI in the eighth before Eibner's aforementioned score a frame later.

ASU starter Merrill Kelly surrendered seven hot and three runs, while punching out five. He also issued three walks.

The Sun Devils who are making their 22nd overall trip to the College World Series, and the first time going in back to back years since 1993, are going to square up against the winner of the Super Regional between Alabama and Clemson which will be determined today. The date and time of ASUs first game in Omaha will be announced following the conclusion of that game.

Esmay commented that the goal of getting to Omaha was on his squad's mind since the season began. "We had to back off the reins of them early," Esmay recalled, "because that (Omaha) was all that they were thinking about. They are a lot of guys on this club that remember the (loss to) University of Texas from last year, and the toughest thing for us is that they won't look past the season and enjoy the ride. It's not easy to do (make it to the CWS) as you can tell.

"I'm so proud of this group of young men because what you saw this weekend is just the epitome of what they have been all year long. They have never backed down, and I don't expect them to back down now."


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