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Baseball edges Houston

March 21, 2010

The No. 1 Arizona State University baseball team survived a Houston rally to defeat the Cougars 6-5 on Sunday in front of 3,429 fans at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Sun Devils swept the three-game series with Houston and improved to 20-0 on the season with the win. The 20-0 start is the second best start in school history behind only the 1961 team's 21-0 start.

ASU led 6-2 entering the ninth, but Houston rallied with two outs against ASU reliever Jake Barrett. Caleb Ramsey singled in a run, and the Cougars then scored two more as M.P. Cokinos was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Zak Presley drew a walk to bring Houston within a run. Jordan Swagerty then moved from catcher to the mound and got Matt Murphy to ground into a fielder's choice. Zack MacPhee made a diving stop on the play and flipped the ball to Drew Maggi at second base for the game-ending force out.

Jake Borup got the win to improve to 5-0 in five starts this season. He went five innings and allowed six hits and two runs with three strikeouts. Brady Rodgers and Mitchell Lambson combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief, and Swagerty earned his seventh save of the season by getting the final out.

Houston got on the board first with a run in the top of the third, but the Sun Devils answered in the bottom half of the inning when MacPhee ripped a three-run double to the right field corner.

ASU extended the lead in the next inning, as Andrew Aplin doubled in a run and then scored on a wild pitch.

Houston scored a run in the fifth, and the Sun Devils then added an important insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. MacPhee singled with two outs, stole second and then came home on an RBI single by Kole Calhoun. That would turn out to be the game-winning run after the Cougars scored three runs in the ninth.

MacPhee was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to lead the offense. Calhoun and Matt Newman also had two hits each in the win.

The Sun Devils now begin Pac-10 Conference play on Friday, with the opener of a three-game series against California at 6:30 p.m. at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.