ASU baseball beats up Wichita State, wins 9-5

#8 Freshman pitcher Seth Martinez sends the ball to first base to prevent a steal. ASU defeated Wichita State 9-4 on Mar. 18. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

Freshman right-hander Seth Martinez attempts a pick-off to first base. ASU defeated Wichita State 9-5 on March 18. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

ASU baseball capitalized on early mistakes and never took the foot off the gas in a 9-5 beating of Wichita State on Tuesday night.

Everything went smoothly for the Sun Devils (10-8) from the get-go, and the coaching staff has to be pleased with how its freshmen fared against the Shockers (11-7). Catcher Brian Serven had a career-high three RBIs and right-hander Seth Martinez impressed in his first-career outing.

Sophomore center fielder Sewald started the game offensively for ASU with a single in the first, then moved over on a single by sophomore designated hitter RJ Ybarra. Both came around to score on a single to left by Serven.

 

 

Serven also added another RBI in the fourth inning. He is now batting .319 with eight RBIs. He appears to have a firm grasp on the starting catcher’s job, having started 12 games to Ybarra’s six. No one else has started a game behind the plate. Serven said he doesn’t see himself as the starting catcher.

“I go out there every day … trying to be as excellent as I can out there, because I know how excellent (Ybarra) will be when he gets a chance to be behind the plate,” Serven said. “I’ve gotten a great opportunity from coach (Tim) Esmay and the rest of the coaching staff.”

Sewald also singled in the second and walked in the fourth. He has made a habit of getting on base frequently. After Tuesday’s game he is batting .392 with an on-base percentage of .516.

Martinez meanwhile went four innings in his Sun Devil debut, allowing only one run on three hits and two walks while striking out six. He said he was battling nerves in his first outing, but looking at his numbers, they didn’t bother him too much.

“All the preparation gave us confidence and made it fun,” Martinez said. “I give a lot of credit to (Serven) with his pitch calls.”

The Shockers made it close in the later half, putting up a three-spot in the sixth and cutting the lead to 6-4 ASU. Instead, a trio of right-handers — sophomore Eric Melbostad, freshman Hever Bueno and sophomore Jordan Aboites — combined to allow only one run the rest of the way, while the ASU offense added three more of its own.

Additional notes:

– Every ASU starter got on base, and six of them recorded multi-hit games.

– Junior second baseman Drew Stankiewicz hit his first homer of the season in the eighth inning.

– The eight- and nine-hole hitters for ASU, sophomore outfielder Cullen O’Dwyer and freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee, combined to score four runs.

– ASU plays Wichita State again Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Packard Stadium.

Reach the reporter at justin.emerson@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @J15Emerson

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the score was misprinted.