Freshmen battery leads ASU baseball past Wichita State

TEMPE, Ariz. — Freshman starting right-hander Seth Martinez and freshman catcher Brian Serven shined as the Arizona State baseball team defeated Wichita State, 9-5, on Tuesday night in front of 2,856 fans at Packard Stadium. 

Martinez (1-0) struck out six in four innings, including the side in the fourth, and gave up just one run on three hits and two walks to earn the win in his first career appearance. He walked the first batter of the game, but settled down to retire the next three Shockers (11-7) and allowed just four base runners the rest of his outing.

Serven led the offensive charge with three RBI as six different Sun Devils (10-8) tallied a pair of hits. Junior first baseman Nate Causey added a pair of RBI and a double, and junior second baseman Drew Stankiewicz hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning.

The Sun Devils opened up the scoring in the first inning on a bases-loaded, two-run single by Serven and never surrendered their 2-0 lead.

Sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale led off the bottom of the second with a walk and scored from first in the next at-bat after Wichita State’s starting pitcher Kris Gardner misplayed sophomore right fielder Cullen O’Dwyer’s bunt and threw the ball into right field.

Wichita State scored its first run of the game on a two-out single by first baseman Casey Gillespie in the top of the third inning.

The Devils loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth on a catcher’s interference during O’Dwyer’s at-bat, a bunt double by freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee and a walk by sophomore center fielder Johnny Sewald. Causey, after consecutive pop outs, knocked a two-run single through the left side to stretch ASU’s lead to four, and Serven added his third RBI of the game on a single to left center to make it a five-run game.

Sophomore right-hander Eric Melbostad took the mound in the fifth inning and conceded three unearned runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up a pair of singles and recorded two outs in the top of the eighth before he was replaced by freshman right-hander Hever Bueno, who induced a fly out in foul territory to end the threat. Sophomore right-hander Jordan Aboites closed out the ninth in his third appearance of the season.

The Shockers notched three unearned runs in the sixth inning after a fielding error by Woodmansee allowed two runs to score and third baseman Chase Simpson followed with an RBI triple to bring Wichita State within a pair, 6-4.

O’Dwyer led off the eighth with a double and scored on an RBI single by Woodmansee, and Stankiewicz added a two-run homer, his first of the season, two batters later to give ASU a five-run advantage. The Shockers added one run in the ninth on a walk, a single and fielding error before Aboites struck out the final batter of the game.

Gardner (1-1) took his first loss of the season after he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.