Arizona State Baseball Headed Back to Omaha, but Not Before a Thrilling Series
There would be no meltdown for the Arizona State University baseball team this year, as there was in 2008.
Drew Maggi made sure of that, even if the sophomore wasn't around two years ago when the Sun Devils were upset in the Super Regional at home against Fresno State.
In a seesaw battle that saw Arkansas tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth (they were the home team per NCAA rules), Maggi got the last laugh a few innings later.
After struggling mightily this postseason, including being 0 for 5 Sunday night, Maggi lined a two-run home run to left in the 12th inning to spark Arizona State to a 7-5 win Sunday night.
The victory sends the Sun Devils back to Omaha for the College World Series for the second straight year -- their 22nd appearance.
The Sun Devils used the long ball to pounce on Razorbacks starting pitcher Drew Smyly early in the game. Sophomore Zach Wilson hit a solo blast in the second inning that just stayed fair to left field.
Just two innings later, sophomore Riccio Torrez hit a two-run home run to give ASU a 3-0 lead. Wilson then homered again and it looked as if the rout was on.
But Arkansas clawed back against Sun Devil starter Merrill Kelly, eventually closing to gap to one.
The score was a one run affair heading to the bottom of the ninth as things looked bright for ASU. Gloom and doom would suddenly strike.
Shaken but not deterred, Swagerty was dominant as he closed out the game while striking out seven batters.
Sunday night's game wasn't the only game of the series that saw late-inning action and drama, however.
Trailing 5-4 going into the bottom frame of the ninth, Arizona State scratched out a run to tie the game.
The heroics also came in the 12th inning as freshman Deven Marrero knocked a base hit to left field to give the Sun Devils a 7-6 win.
As ASU heads for Omaha, we must say that this team looks different than past teams who have failed to claim the ultimate prize.
This year's team has grit, courage and toughness that hasn't been seen around these parts in awhile.
And while anything can happen surrounded by the cornfields of Nebraska -- as the Sun Devils know all too well -- this team is built for the grind.
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