Cal Poly Baseball wrangled UC Davis with a 3-0 series sweep against the Aggies (10-18, 3-6 Big West) on April 12-14. The Mustangs (16-17, 7-2 Big West) are within one game of first place and Blue-Green Rivals UC Santa Barbara.
Michael Clark‘s 5 2/3 inning performance shut down the Aggies offense as the Mustangs emerged victorious in the series opener 5-1.
The senior right hander allowed just two hits and struck out four batters after entering in the fourth inning to replace starting pitcher Chase Watkins.
Cal Poly put themselves on the board first off a two-run triple by designated hitter Conagher Sands in the first inning. Sands also doubled in the fifth inning, going 2 for 4 in Friday’s game.
Junior second baseman Jack Kuzma increased the Mustangs’ lead to 3-0 with a double to center field in the top of the fourth inning. Redshirt freshman shortstop Connor Gurnik brought in Kuzma and sophomore left fielder Cole Cabrera that same inning to give the Mustangs a 5-0 lead.
While Watkins had five runs of support coming into the bottom of the fourth, the left handed freshman was pulled out after he allowed five hits in 3 1/3 innings and one earned run. The Aggies’ single run came in the fourth, when right fielder Alejandro Lara’s single through the middle brought in Caleb Van Blake and made the score 5-1.
After Clark was brought in, the Aggies’ offense was stagnant, as Clark’s dominant pitching shut them down. Clark gave up just two hits in the fifth and ninth inning and retired 13 batters in a row during that span.
Six Mustang batters earned multiple hits in a 15-hit performance that gave Cal Poly an 8-5 win over UC Davis on Saturday.
Freshman left fielder Noah Taylor, junior center fielder Bradlee Beesley, sophomore right fielder Elijah Greene, freshman second baseman Willie Cano, catcher Myles Emmerson and first baseman Kuzma all recorded two hits in Saturday’s victory.
Junior right hander Bobby Ay pitched 6 1/3 innings to earn the win, with his nine hits, three earned runs, three balls and three strikeouts.
The Aggies opened up scoring in the first inning. Van Blake’s groundout to second base brought in one run in the first inning, followed by a single to left field by Lara, created an early 2-0 deficit for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs answered with two runs of their own in the third inning, with an RBI single from Beesley and a sac-fly run from Sands to tie up the game.
Aggies second baseman Kyler Arenado answered in the next inning with a fielder’s choice to bring in an unearned run for UC Davis and another tied scoreline for the time being.
In the fifth inning, Taylor hit a two RBI single to put Cal Poly ahead 5-3 and turn the tides in the Mustangs’ favor. Taylor himself then scored thanks to an RBI double from Kuzma.
Later, Gurnik bunted in a run in the sixth inning and Sands brought Gurnik home thanks to another sac-fly. An RBI single in the seventh inning for the Mustangs gave Cal Poly an 8-3 lead. While UC Davis scored two runs in the seventh and eighth innings, Cal Poly emerged victorious and clinched the series.
Cal Poly recovered from a five-run deficit to complete the series sweep with a 6-5 comeback win on April 14.
Greene scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning on a bases loaded sacrifice fly to complete the Mustangs’ comeback.
In the lead-up to Greene’s go-ahead run, designated hitter Sands had one RBI in the eighth inning that brought in Beesley to tie the game. Sands’ RBI in Sunday’s game was the third game in a row with an RBI, and was also his fifth RBI of the series.
Beesley and Greene also had RBIs in the eighth inning as apart of team efforts to reduce their deficit against UC Davis.
All five of the Aggies’ runs were scored in the third inning. UC Davis scored their first run thanks to a bases-loaded walk by sophomore right hander Darren Nelson. Van Blake added two more runs with a single to left field, and Nelson was pulled out for Clark.
However, Clark gave up a double to catcher Logan Denholm that brought in Aggies right fielder Cooper Morrison and advanced Van Blake to third base. A sac-fly brought in the second baseman to cap off the Aggies’ five-run inning.
The win puts Cal Poly within one game of .500 after starting the season 2-9. The Mustangs’ next play on the road against Long Beach State (7-27, 2-4) for a three-game series. The first game against the last place Dirtbags is Thursday, April 18 at 6 p.m.