By Brian Kreps
LONG BEACH, Calif. – When the season started, junior Hever Bueno was anointed the Friday night starter for the Arizona State Sun Devils. But when he was suddenly unavailable for the Devils opener against Long Beach State, Arizona State Head Coach Tracy Smith turned to junior Seth Martinez, who did not disappoint.
Martinez had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning and didn’t allow a run in his six innings of work to lead the Sun Devils to a 9-2 win over Long Beach State at Blair Field in front of 1,544 fans in attendance.
“You’re on the road against a very, very good baseball team, without your Friday night starter, I thought Seth was awesome,” Smith said.
“His ability to locate and change speeds keeps us in every game. Seth giving our team confidence to hang in there because he’s in the zone and making teams beat him. For him it’s all about location. When he locates his stuff, he’s pretty darn good.”
Arizona State’s (5-1) offense was led by Sebastian Zawada and Colby Woodmansee. Zawada hit a three-run home run, his first of the season in the fourth inning, followed by Woodmansee hitting a three run shot of his own, his second of the season, in the fifth, giving the Sun Devils a 6-0 lead.
“We brought him here for a reason, because he could hit. I think once he settles in, the more were gonna see a little more of that,” Smith said of Zawada. “He has the ability to drive the baseball,hit it out of the park, as witnessed tonight. He’s a good hitter. He got the ball up that he handled, was really the key to get us going tonight.”
The Sun Devils also got a strong performance, both offensively and defensively, from catcher Brian Serven, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and also threw out the only Long Beachbase runner trying to steal.
“He’s solid,” Smith said of Serven. “We ask a lot out of him, catching a lot of innings. He’s good. Not only does he control the running game, also a threat offensively.”
Second baseman Andrew Snow also had three hits and added two RBIs.
“We try and make sure teams work to the entire line up, and to have Andrew down in the eighth hole sticking in three hits is a nice luxury to have,” Smith said. “He’s a gamer. He’s a tough kid. He wants to play.”
Smith was pleased with how his team responded after suffering its first loss of the season. But, he said they are not going to dwell on this win for too long.
“We’re gonna enjoy this one, but it’s over with at this point. Refocus, because were gonna see another good arm tomorrow,”Smith said.
The Sun Devils continue its three-game series against Long Beach (3-2) today at 2 p.m. Pacific time and Sunday at 1 p.m. Pacific time