In the early stages of a baseball season, it's nice to know which pitchers can be trusted with the ball in their hand.
It was a sterling performance from starting pitcher Seth Martinez that vaulted the Arizona State Sun Devils to a 2-1 win over the Xavier Musketeers in the first matchup of the programs' double-header at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Saturday.
The bout began as a tightly-contesed pitcher's duel, as neither starter relinquished a hit through the first three innings.
Martinez was quick and efficient throughout the contest, retiring the first 13 batters he faced, downing three via strikeout.
The ASU offense wasn't able to capitalize on their starter's performance through the first few innings.
In the first inning, centerfielder Andrew Shaps drew a walk, but was thrown out after being caught on a pitch-out between first and second. In the third, second baseman Andrew Snow was hit by a pitch, then advanced to second on a bunt by third baseman Jordan Aboites, but was thrown out while trying to advance to third.
The Sun Devils (2-0) were able to break the deadlock in the fourth after shortstop Colby Woodmansee ripped a double into left field to plate first baseman David Greer, giving ASU a 1-0 lead.
Woodmansee would advance to third after designated hitter Sebastian Zawada skied a pop up down the first-base line that was misjudged by the Xavier right fielder and first baseman before reaching second with one out.
ASU was unable to plate either runner, as both outfielder Tyler Williams and Snow popped out to close the segment.
Xavier (0-2) wouldn't trail for long though, as they managed to both end Martinez's no-hit bid and score in the ensuing frame.
Just a couple of pithces after Shaps made diving catch in center field to preserve Martinez's no-hit bid, shortstop Andre Jernigan reached on a blooper to center.
Martinez attempted a pitch-out during the next at-bat, but it flew by his target, allowing Jernigan to advance into scoring position. Outfielder Blaine Griffiths would later hit a single to bring Jernigan home, tying the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Shaps doubled into center field, then was brought home on a single by Greer, reclaiming the advantage for the Sun Devils 2-1.
ASU managed to maintain leverage the rest of the way.
At the top of the eighth, sophomore relief man Grant Schneider stepped up to the mound, replacing Martinez who allowed just one run on four hits and a walk, while recording six strikeouts in seven innings.
Schneider would pitch the rest of the way, finishing with two strikeouts while allowing two hits in two innings en route to claiming his first save of the year.
The Sun Devils claimed their second win of the season before facing off against the same Musketeers unit less than an hour later at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.