A pair of solo home runs by Chris Hoo and Mike Miller in the second inning of Saturday night’s blowout win for the Cal Poly baseball team over Pacific (11-30, 1-10 Big West) moved the Mustangs into a tie for third place in the Big West Conference.
The Mustangs (24-17, 8-6 Big West) scored in all but one inning in their 15-3 win over the Tigers while starter Kyle Anderson went six innings, giving up three earned runs on four strikeouts.
“We had the right approach, the wind was blowing out so we knew it was an offensive day,” Miller said. “We didn’t want anything to beat us inside and we took advantage of it today.”
The offensive surge included hits from seven different Mustangs. Cal Poly set their season highs in runs and hits with 15 and 18 respectively.
Miller had a career night going 5 for 5 with a double and home run, with the double nearly an inch from clearing the wall as it bounced off the top of the left field wall to fall back into play. Miller’s five-hit game puts him at sixty two hits overall, trailing only UCSB’s Brett Vertigan for most hits in the Big West.
Six Mustangs had multiple hits in the win. Mitch Haniger went 2 for 4 with four RBIs and his ninth home run of the season. Haniger’s performance adds to his leads in multiple Big West offensive categories (RBIs, slugging percentage and home runs).
These strong numbers could propel Haniger to the top of Big West Player of the Year candidates and add more notoriety to the increasing amount of MLB teams scouting him.
Third basemen Jimmy Allen went 3 for 5 with four RBIs and a double. Allen has shown efficiency with the bases loaded. Before tonight’s game Allen was 3 for 4 with six RBIs with bases loaded.
Kyle Anderson showcased his importance to the Mustangs success as he increased his record to 7-1 overall. A strong showing by the Cal Poly offense allowed Anderson to pitch for contact rather than strikeouts, as he threw a majority of fastballs.
“I just go right after them,” Anderson said. “Throw strikes, let them put the ball in play, and hope our hitters hit which they did today. You want the game to go quick, keep our hitters in the dugout and keep our confidence up.”
Despite Anderson continually retiring Pacific batters with ease, head coach Larry Lee cut Anderson’s start short after the lead increased to twelve runs in the sixth. True freshmen Danny Zandona closed the game, throwing three innings, giving up three hits and one earned run.
The recent Santa Barbara High School graduate has seen an increase in action recently after throwing two no-hit innings to close out a 6-0 loss to Big West leading Cal State Fullerton.
“Danny is gaining some valuable experience for the future,” Lee said. “He has the right makeup and we are just trying to pick and choose when we can get him in.”
Zandona was not the only underclassmen to get worthwhile conference playing experience. Alex Michaels pinch hit and went 2 for 2 with two RBIs, as he increased his season average to .361.
“Any sort of experience is valuable,” Miller said. “It’s going to help them grow as players. Confidence wise, it will be a great boost for them.”