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After the Mustangs’ 4-3 walk-off victory on Friday — a game that lasted more than four hours and spanned 13 innings — Saturday’s series finale was just the opposite. The No. 3 Cal Poly baseball team turned in a sub-two-hour game that resulted in a 3-0 win and series sweep against Big West Conference foe No. 19 Cal State Fullerton (18-16, 3-6 Big West) at Baggett Stadium.
The sweep of the Titans gives Cal Poly (34-5, 11-1 Big West) the top spot in the conference standings after second-place UC Irvine was idle in conference play this weekend. Cal Poly has won 10 straight games.
Junior starting pitcher Casey Bloomquist turned in arguably his best performance of the season, and this year the right-hander has been automatic on the rubber. He went the distance, collecting his first collegiate complete-game shutout, allowing three Cal State Fullerton hits and managing eight strikeouts along the way.
“I wanted to throw strikes and get ahead of these guys; I didn’t want to fall behind, because I know they are some really good hitters … my off-speed (pitches) kind of saved me today, it got batters out early in the count,” said Bloomquist, who picked up his ninth win in as many starts.
Sophomore second baseman Mark Mathias led off the game with a home run to left center, the first of his Cal Poly career. The Mustangs tacked on two more when sophomore shortstop Peter Van Gansen’s triple in the 5th inning plated junior outfielder Zack Zehner, and a throwing error allowed Van Gansen to come all the way home.
Van Gansen, who also had four hits in Friday night’s win, credited a couple batting tips senior catcher Chris Hoo gave him for his recent hot bat.
“He told me not to grip the bat so hard, to just wiggle my fingers up at the plate and to get my mind off the whole hitting aspect,” Van Gansen said.
Cal State Fullerton’s right-handed pitcher Grahamm Wiest did his best to quiet one of the nation’s hottest lineups. The redshirt freshman went eight innings and allowed three runs, one of which was unearned, while striking out nine. He was outdueled by Bloomquist, however, who made run support for Wiest difficult to come by.
Bloomquist (9-0) lowered his ERA to a team-leading 1.36. With his homer, Mathias kept his average above .400 for the season (.404) and Hoo ended up with two base hits.
As the Mustangs keep winning games and improving their ranking, head coach Larry Lee said he is confident his team can stay focused and reach their potential.
“Our guys have done a good job focusing on the next inning, the next at-bat, the next game; they don’t look to far ahead … they have come ready to play every single game,” he said.
Cal State Fullerton had not been swept in a three-game conference series since UC Riverside accomplished the feat in 2007. The Highlanders went on to win the Big West title that year.
Cal Poly hosts San Jose State Tuesday at 6 p.m.