By the time Arizona State starter Seth Martinez left Friday's game at Husky Ballpark in the seventh inning, the sophomore had seen three separate Washington batters leave the yard with monster home runs.
This is the way the Huskies have been getting the job done as of late, marking the third time in seven days that they have launched three long balls in a single game. And this is how they stayed within striking distance in Friday's series opener despite not having an at-bat with a runner in scoring position until the eighth inning.
Eventually the high-wire acts of the Sun Devils would catch up to them. Washington plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth en route to a 9-7 win, the team's first against a top five opponent this season.
Martinez's struggles began early when he allowed a two out single to the pesky Austin Rei in the first inning. The mistake brought cleanup man Branden Berry to the plate, and he promptly gave the home team a lead with a bomb over the fence in left field.
Arizona State cut the deficit in half in the top of the second on an RBI groundout from Trever Allen, but the Huskies answered back with another two run dinger, this one coming off the bat of Will Sparks. Martinez would settle down after that, throwing four consecutive frames of scoreless baseball and allowing his offense to get the Sun Devils back in it.
A four run explosion in the fourth turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead, the binge being highlighted by a three-run homer onto the banks of Lake Washington from Johnny Sewald. One inning later and the visitors were back at it, adding an insurance run on a double by Colby Woodmansee and a base hit back up the middle from Joey Bielek.
Arizona State would give the lead back for the 30th time this season in the seventh. (I haven't fact-checked that stat but I can't imagine it to be false). Martinez issued a one out walk, and Braden Bishop then tied the game with a two run shot over the wall in left center.
A costly defensive mistake by the Huskies in the eighth allowed the maroon and gold to take a one run lead, but the usually reliable Arizona State bullpen blew it in the bottom half of the frame.
Eric Melbostad (0-1) allowed the tying run on a two out RBI double by John Cushing, and a subsequent walk to the next batter made head coach Tracy Smith call in usual closer Ryan Burr from the bullpen. Burr would give up the lead for a second consecutive game, allowing back-to-back singles that would score two runs.
Excitable reliever Troy Rallings (3-1) retired the Sun Devils with relative ease in the ninth, sealing the deal on the 9-7 win. Washington improved to 21-14 (7-9) with the victory, while Arizona State slid to 23-11 (11-5).
Tomorrow is another game against the Huskies. Then the day after, there will be another game against the Huskies. That's just how baseball works.