When you’re the top dog, everybody else comes to you.
The University of Hawai’i crossed an ocean to come to ASU’s Packard Stadium to play in the Tempe Regional over the weekend.
ASU, the No. 1 team in the country, hosted the regional, one of the perks of being a top-ranked team. But the Sun Devils weren’t very hospitable, beating Hawai’i in back-to-back games to be able to move on to the Super Regionals – which will also be played in Tempe.
They will take on Arkansas, the winner of the Fayetteville Regional, Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The Devils took down UW-Milwaukee, 6-2, in the regional opener Friday before a sell-out crowd of 4,371 adoring fans. Ahh… home, sweet home.
How sweet is it? The Devils have won 18 straight home regional games.
The first game with Hawai’i was a 12-1 rout, as the potent ASU offense rained down on the Rainbow. Zack MacPhee went 4-for-5, with a home run. In all, the Devils pounded out four home runs in the game, with Kole Calhoun, Deven Marrero, and Raoul Torrez accounting for the other three.
Seth Blair got the win, going seven strong innings, and running his record to 12-0.
The second game with Hawai’i earned ASU its 50th win on the season, something the Devils have accomplished two years in a row and 18 times in the program’s history. That 8-4 victory also sent them to the Super Regional for the fourth consecutive year.
Calhoun was back at it again, hitting another home run and collecting two hits in the game. The solo homer was his 15th of the season and third in the three games played in the regional. His play earned him the Most Outstanding Player honors for the Tempe Regional.
ASU sent three pitchers to the mound. Jake Borup got the win to up his season record to 11-1. He got tagged for all four Rainbow runs in the six innings he pitched, while also posting three strikeouts and three walks. Mitchell Lambson took over in the seventh and eighth innings, and Jordan Swagerty closed the door on Hawai’i in the ninth.
Evidently a 35-28 record and a trip to the Tempe Regional was enough for the University of Hawai’i to feel good about its season, despite traveling almost 3,000 miles to get crushed in two quick games.
It was just the second time the Rainbow have won 35 games in nine years under coach Mike Trapasso, but the school’s athletic director told the team Trapasso would be offered a new contract.
Playing against the No. 1 team in the country isn’t all that much fun. But at least they cut you a little slack when you don’t beat them.
Washington State is the only team that was able to take a series from ASU this year. But that’s behind them. In front of them is the road to their fourth appearance in the College World Series since 2005. And it’s not going to get any easier between here and Omaha.
But, at least for now, the guys get to sleep in their own beds at night.
Ahh… home, sweet home.