Cal Poly followed a close 5-4 win on Friday night with a series-clinching 5-2 win over Long Beach State on Saturday.
“I think when you can win a nail-biter like that, momentum goes your way,” junior center fielder Alex McKenna said. “The confidence is there at the plate and Darren just turned in one of the best pitching performances of the year tonight.”
Starting pitcher freshman right hander Darren Nelson held the Dirtbags (16-22, 3-4 Big West) to zero hits through six innings.
Cal Poly (17-19, 4-6) tallied three hits in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore right fielder Bradlee Beesley singled it to left field as Alex McKenna rushed from second base to score the first run of the game. The Mustangs continued to press forward, scoring from second again as Beesley reached home off of a double by junior catcher Nick Meyer for the 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Alex McKenna’s fourth triple of the season brought two runners home for a 4-0 lead. Freshman first baseman Tate Samuelson added another run with a triple in the bottom of the fifth inning and scored soon after off a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
The Dirtbags snapped Nelson’s no-hitter in the top of the seventh inning.
“I tried not to think about it, but it was hard to,” Nelson said. “You know it’s happening, but you gotta push through it.”
With runners on second and third base, an RBI groundout and double allowed Long Beach to score to cut the Cal Poly lead to 5-2.
The Mustangs stranded two runners in the bottom of the eighth and were forced to defend their lead in the top of the ninth inning. With runners on first and second base, the final batter flew out to secure the 5-2 win.
“Everything is clicking on all cylinders,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty awesome to see that everyone has a lot of confidence.”