By: Brian Kreps – Contributing Writer
May 14, 2016
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona State Sun Devils erupted for five runs in the first inning, then got a dominating performance from junior Seth Martinez en route to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Wildcats at Hi Corbett Field in front of 6,324 fans in attendance.
Arizona State (30-16, 12-10 in Pac-12) freshman Gage Canning led off the game with a triple, his fourth of the season.
Junior David Greer followed with a walk and advanced to second on a single junior Colby Woodmansee, which also drove in Canning. After the next two batters flew out, sophomore Andrew Shaps singled, scoring Greer and advancing Woodmansee to third. Sophomore Andrew Snow then reached second after a fielding error, scoring Woodmansee and advancing Shaps to third. Shaps and Snow would score on a single by sophomore Ryan Lillard.
“The guys came out aggressively,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “Gage Canning making an aggressive base running move. Guys were putting together some good at bats.”
Then, Martinez (8-3) took over. He pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one earned run and scattering six hits. Martinez didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning, pitching 4.1 innings of no-hit baseball. Martinez also pitched out of a jam in the seventh inning, allowing one run to the Wildcats on a passed ball, which scored junior Bobby Dalbec who reached on a triple.
“It was nice to see five runs up there. That’s when you just go out there and do what you normally do and just try and compete in the zone as much as you can. I was able to locate my fastball early, also my slider was working really well,” Martinez said. “Our defense had some great plays along the way too.”
Smith was confident after the first-inning outburst.
“With Seth on the mound, you give him a little bit of run support, you got a pretty good chance to win it.” Smith said. “He’s very confident in his abilities. He’s good. He locates the baseball. He can give you quick innings, which allows him to go deeper. Given our situation this year with what’s happening on the mound, he knows he has to somewhat put the team on his back on Friday nights. He’s welcomed that.”
Arizona (31-17, 14-11 in Pac-12) got to Martinez in the eighth inning, knocking him out of the game with a single run, cutting the deficit to 5-2. Junior Eder Erives came in and got the final two outs of the inning. Erives then pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save of the season.
The Sun Devils had a different look on defense, with Snow playing third base and Jordan Aboites playing second base.
” I think we’re better in the middle with Jordan, nothing against Andy. Jordan plays good defense, his range is a little bit better. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while,” Smith said. “When Andy got hurt, Jordan played a real good second base for us, and we didn’t want to mess with it. You’ve got be strong up the middle, not that Andy wasn’t, but if you can get a little bit better, why wouldn’t you. We’re not gonna take Snow off the diamond, he brings so much in terms of toughness, mentality and production. We think we’re better defensively now then we were two weeks ago.”
The Wildcats were led by senior Cody Ramer with two hits on the night. Starter senior Nathan Bannister (7-2) pitched into the ninth inning, and though the Sun Devils scored five runs in the first inning, only two runs were earned, as he rebounded to shut down the offense the rest of the night.
Next: ASU Sophomore Eli Lingos is scheduled to get the start in game two of the series tonight.
Coverage on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060: Pregame 6:45 p.m. First pitch 7:00 p.m.
Current Pac-12 standings as of May 13, 2016:
Utah: 14-8, 19-24
Washington: 13-9, 27-17 (1 GB)
Arizona: 14-11, 31-17 (1.5 GB)
Arizona St.: 12-10, 30-16 (2 GB)
USC: 11-11, 22-24 (3 GB)
Oregon St.: 10-11, 29-15 (3.5 GB) – in progress
Oregon: 10-11, 22-21 (3.5 GB) – in progress
Stanford: 10-12, 24-20 (4 GB)
UCLA: 10-12, 23-24 (4 GB)
California: 11-13, 25-18 (4 GB)
Washington St.: 9-16, 16-28 (6.5 GB)