As expected, the Arizona State baseball team is moving on. After taking three straight games as a Regional host, the Sun Devils will now play in their sixth Super Regional since 2003, the second-most in the NCAA over that time span.
Ho hum, just another day at the ball field for the perennial powerhouse.
The boys in maroon and gold started the weekend with Friday's game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, one of the lowest seeds in the 64-team tournament.
After some early inning jitters (ASU was actually down 1-0 after the first), the Sun Devils stormed back with a two-run double by Deven Marerro in the second inning. The hit offered some redemption for Marerro, whose error helped UWM grab the early advantage.
The biggest blow came on a long ball by Kole Calhoun, whose three-run bomb in the third essentially clinched the game, as the Devils eased to a 6-2 win.
It wasn't necessarily flashy or pretty, but a win is a win. And at this point in the season, when winning is all that matters, this team will take it. Especially as the number-one overall seed in the tournament, a trip to Omaha is more coveted than ever before.
Saturday's contest against Hawaii was just the opposite: Dominating, over-powering, and relentless.
Seth Blair, the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, excelled again for his 12th win of the season to keep his perfect record intact. His line: seven innings, three hits, one run.
It's a pretty simple formula. Anytime a starting pitcher gives you that effort, chances are you're going to win.
The Sun Devils used a blend of speed and power to defeat the Rainbows by a score of 12-1. The speed: four stolen bases. The power: four home runs. The result: a statement win in the Tempe Regional.
Calhoun continued his power streak with another home run and Zack MacPhee added four hits to pace the Sun Devil offense.
ASU dispatched Hawaii for the second time in two days on Sunday, winning 8-4 behind contributions throughout the lineup and a solid pitching performance from Jake Borup to sweep the Tempe Regional.
Borup pitched six solid innings while giving up six hits and four runs before letting the bullpen take over.
The offensive firepower came from all over as seven Sun Devils had at least one hit and four had two. Kole Calhoun added another home run, bringing his season total to 16. To nobody's surprise, Calhoun was promptly named the MVP of the Tempe Regional.
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Side note: Kole Calhoun is the perfect postseason player. He quietly has a solid season and then BAM...he takes his game up another notch once June hits.
Sun Devil fans probably remember Calhoun's coming out party at the CWS in Omaha last year. It looks as if he's starting the home run party a few weeks early.
The win marks ASU's second consecutive 50-win season and 18th overall for the historic program.
ASU now awaits the winner of Arkansas and Washington St., who play in a winner-take-all later this afternoon. Whichever team escapes that contest gets to travel to the hellacious temperatures of Tempe and an equally hot Sun Devil team.