The Cal Poly baseball team brought out the brooms in their final home series of the 2018 season, sweeping UC Santa Barbara in the latest Blue-Green rivalry matchup. Dating back to 2016, the Mustangs have swept the Gauchos in three consecutive series.
Thanks to a first inning that effectively put the game away, the Cal Poly baseball team managed the 5-3 win against UC Santa Barbara to win take the first game of the series.
Four Mustangs put together an early hit streak with junior center fielder Alex McKenna, junior shortstop Kyle Marinconz and freshman third baseman Tate Samuelson hitting back-to-back-to-back singles to drive in McKenna and put Marinconz on second and Samuelson on first.
Senior first baseman Elijah Skipps capped off the streak with a double that drove in both runners. Skipps later scored after a sac bunt by junior catcher Nick Meyer put him on third and a sac fly by sophomore right fielder Bradlee Beesley brought him home.
Senior left handed pitcher Trent Shelton struggled a little early, giving up three runs in the second and third innings. But from the fourth on, the Mustangs shut out the Gauchos, ultimately securing the win.
In the second game of the series, the Mustangs found themselves trailing late in the game but bounced back in the eighth inning to win 4-2.
After several scoreless innings, the Gauchos got on the board in the top of the fourth when sophomore center fielder Tommy Jew hit a solo home run to give the Gauchos a 1-0 lead.
The Mustangs responded in the fifth inning when sophomore shortstop Dylan Doherty knocked in sophomore second baseman Scott Ogrin to give Cal Poly their first run of the game.
However, the Gauchos answered quickly in the sixth inning when freshman designated hitter Drew Williams hit a stand-up double to score bring junior shortstop Clay Fisher and give UC Santa Barbara lead at 2-1.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mustangs made their final push. After McKenna walked, Marinconz dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance McKenna to second. After a fielding error allowed Samuelson reach first base safely, McKenna advanced to scoring position at third.
On the ensuing at-bat, with two outs, Meyer roped a clutch two-run double to take a 3-2 lead for the first time in the game. Beesley also grabbed an insurance run for the Mustangs with an RBI single to go ahead and ultimately win 4-2.
In the final game of the series and the final home game of the season, the Mustangs distanced themselves from the Gauchos early on.
In the fourth inning, the Mustangs turned a one-run game into a five-run game. The rally started when Orgin ripped a liner down the left field line to score Beesley. Later in the inning, McKenna walked to load the bases for Marinconz. Marinconz unloaded on the first pitch he saw, hitting a bases clearing double off the right field wall.
With the big lead, the Mustangs were able to pitch both their senior relievers Austin Dondanville and Kyle Smith. Both pitchers were given a standing ovation as the fans knew it was the last time they were ever going to take the mound in a Mustangs uniform.
Dondanville and Smith’s sendoff was an inspiration to some of the younger players on the team.
“It can get pretty emotional,” junior pitcher Michael Clark said. “It’s just cool to see those guys do well especially in their senior year.”
The Mustangs closed out the game 9-3. With the win, they move back to .500 this season.