All week long, ASU had heard about just how dominating the Long Beach State pitching staff was. The Sun Devils were not intimidated, however, exploding for 13 hits in their 6-4 win against the Dirtbags.
"We were really hunting fastballs," catcher Brian Serven said. "Everybody is taking a good approach and have really been getting the barrel on the ball."
Wasting no time, the maroon and gold jumped on the visitor's starter for a pair of runs in the first inning. Johnny Sewald led off the frame with an infield single, and he scored two batters later on a triple by Colby Woodmansee. Designated hitter R.J. Ybarra then brought home Woodmansee with a productive groundout to the left side of the infield.
"That's been a big time emphasis for us," said head coach Tracy Smith. "Something you have to do to win at this level is being able to handle the bat in different situations, and we did a pretty good job of that."
ASU added on to its lead in the third inning, getting a simple base hit, stolen base, and another single to make the score 3-0. The advantage would be short lived though.
Starting pitcher Seth Martinez dominated early on in his first Friday night start, taking a no-hitter into the fourth inning. Garrett Hampson broke up the no-no with a bunt single to open the frame, and that seemed to rattle the sophomore right-hander. Long Beach State ended up loading the bases with two outs, and that brought Eric Hutting to the plate.
Martinez made the mistake of hanging a curveball on the first pitch he threw to Hutting, and the man with the second lowest batting average in the Dirtbag lineup took advantage. The ball was crushed deep beyond the fence in left field, clearing the bases to give his team a 4-3 lead.
"I hung it a little bit and he (Hutting) put a good swing on it," Martinez said. "That is what's going to happen when you do that."
Determined to get the lead back, Serven doubled into the gap in left center to start the inning and a pair of groundouts by Christopher Beall and David Greer advanced him all the way around the bases to tie the game.
They continued to tee off on starter Kyle Friedrichs in the fifth, using a single and a barrage of three consecutive doubles to take the lead and add onto it. By the time the dust was settled, ASU led 6-4 and Friedrichs (3-1) was chased from the game.
Smith pulled Martinez (1-0) to start the sixth inning, and the work done out of the bullpen by Darin Gillies and Ryan Burr was masterful. The pair of relievers combined to allow just two hits in the final four innings, and Long Beach State never had a good look at making its second comeback of the night.
The Sun Devils improved to 8-4 with the win, while the Dirtbags fell to 8-5. The two teams will be back at it tomorrow for a 6:30 PM first pitch. Left-hander Ryan Kellogg will get the start on the mound for the maroon and gold.