Swift Shines in Curtain Call But ASU Comes Up Short in Austin Regional
AUSTIN – The 2021 Sun Devil Baseball campaign came to a close on Sunday afternoon as ASU fell to Fairfield, 9-7, in the elimination bracket of the Austin Regional.
In what was likely his final game in the Maroon and Gold, Drew Swift went 3-for-5 with two runs, a walk, a double, a triple and an RBI. He was also flawless in the field in the game and in the regional as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year finished his career without an error in his final 20 games.
Swift turned 42 double plays on the season and 118 in his career. He will finish the season with an incredible .981 fielding percentage at shortstop on 260 chances with 171 defensive assists.
Additionally, his effort today gave Swift a final tally of 20 extra-base hits on the season (10 doubles, 4 triples, 6 homers) after having just 16 total in his career prior to the season. The notable evolution of his swing, in addition to his savvy glove work in the field will almost certainly lead to the redshirt junior's name being called sooner than later in the upcoming 2021 MLB Draft.
Hunter Jump matched his career high with four hits on the day, including two doubles. Ethan Long went 2-for-3 to finish his season with a .340 average – the ninth-highest for a freshman in Sun Devil program history.
The Sun Devils, featuring the second-youngest lineup among all Power Five programs and the youngest in the tournament field saw three freshmen bat over .300 this season in Long, Sean McLain and Hunter Haas. Fellow freshmen Jack Moss (.299) and Joe Lampe (.294) came just under the mark.
Meanwhile, Nate Baez added his eight home of the season – and of the last month - in today's contest as he finished the 2021 campaign on a huge tear, earning All-Pac-12 honors while giving the Sun Devils a glimpse at the potential starting catching for the 2022 season with the graduation of seniors Sam Ferri and Nick Cheema. Baez bat a team-best .362 over the final 14 games of the season with team highs in homers (8) and RBI (20) in that stretch while slugging a gaudy .915.
While the obvious upside for the future was relevant down the stretch offensively for ASU (21 games with double-digit hits in the final 31 games of the year), it was the lack of depth that started in the first month of the season when ASU lost its three weekend starters to elbow injuries that would prove to be ASU's undoing on Sunday as the bullpen simply couldn't find a way to stymie the Stag offensive attack.
Fairfield had nine runs on 16 hits, despite the Sun Devils stranded nine Stag runners in the contest. Four straight multi-run innings in the middle of the game proved to be the difference in the contest as ASU staked an early 5-0 lead but couldn't hold off the Fairfield offense, cumulating in a three-run go-ahead shot in the sixth inning that put Fairfield up for good.
Brady Corrigan made the 80th appearance of his career - good for seventh in Sun Devil history - but was unfortunately the recipient of the loss. Despite that, Corrigan inherited his 85th career baserunner this afternoon and stranded him as he concluded his career only allowing 16 of his inherited runners to score through his time at ASU (18.8)
ASU stranded 13 baserunners in the game and could only muster 4-for-13 hitting with runners in scoring position.
Next up for the Sun Devil Baseball program will be the 2021 MLB Draft, set to take begin on Sunday, July 11 as several Sun Devils will eagerly await their professional fates. Additionally, many members of the roster will head to assorted summer league programs across the country in the coming weeks.