Cal Poly baseball took care of business with a three-game sweep of UC Davis in the final home series of 2022 from Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22 at Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (35-20, 20-7 Big West) have now won 11 in a row and with each victory are adding to their case to be chosen for a regional tournament and a chance to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014.
“We just continue to play solid baseball,” head coach Larry Lee said. “We are taking care of the ball on defense, we are pitching well and, offensively, it’s the best we’ve been over the course of the last three or so weeks.”
Sophomore ace Drew Thorpe and the Mustangs dominated UC Davis 11-0 in game one of the final home series.
Cal Poly was helmed by ace and MLB draft prospect Thorpe, who chucked a dozen strikeouts against the Aggies (6-32, 5-22 Big West).
In the Mustang frame of the first, the first four batters reached base. Sophomore second baseman Nick Marinconz singled and scored on a double from sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee to jump out to a 1-0 advantage.
Sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke showed his discipline with a full-count walk and freshman catcher Ryan Stafford singled to score Lee and move Yorke over. Then, senior designated hitter Matt Lopez capped off the inning with a two-RBI double to score Yorke and Stafford, putting the Aggies in a 4-0 hole.
“Our first six hitters of our lineup have been very productive,” Coach Lee said.
Thorpe pitched a mere seven pitches in the second, earning two three-pitch strikeouts and a first-pitch groundout.
Yorke extended his hitting streak with a first-pitch double to score Lee in the second and keep the scoring rolling for Cal Poly, now up 5-0.
Thorpe demonstrated his swing-and-miss stuff in the third, recording a trio of strikeouts — two swinging and one looking.
The bottom of the order, graduate John Lagattuta and redshirt sophomore Reagan Doss, got going in the third to add another after Lagattuta singled in Doss and made it a 6-0 game through three innings.
In the fourth and fifth, Thorpe continued to rack up Ks. The highlight of the fourth, though, was a 439-foot Brooks Lee solo bomb over his go-to spot in deep right field into the lower sports complex beyond Baggett Stadium.
Lopez tallied an RBI single to add another run in the seventh and make it 8-0. In the eighth, the Aggies intentionally walked Lee to load the bases. However, the strategic move did not work out. Following Lee, red-hot Joe Yorke singled to score one and Stafford hit a sacrifice fly to add another and make the score 11-0.
Redshirt sophomore Jack Painter made a late-game appearance and flashed his fielding ability in right field. Two balls came his way, and he made a diving catch with a runner on to keep the shutout alive and secure the 11-0 win.
In Saturday’s matinee, it was redshirt junior starting pitcher Travis Weston who stole the show and elevated Cal Poly to a 7-0 victory.
In the bottom of the second, the Mustangs got on the board first. After junior outfielder Collin Villegas walked and Lopez singled, redshirt senior third baseman Tate Samuelson delivered the first run of the inning on a single to left field. Doss then sent a single to right field to extend the Cal Poly lead to 2-0.
In the top of the fourth, Weston dealt his fourth consecutive 1-2-3 inning to keep the Aggies scoreless.
Doss led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, advancing to second on a fielder’s choice. Yorke then kept his hot streak going by launching a laser home run over the right-field fence, pushing the Cal Poly lead to 4-0.
After more scoreless frames from Weston, Yorke delivered a lead-off double to start the seventh, followed by a single from Stafford. With one out in the inning, Lopez singled to right field to bring home Yorke, making it 5-0 Cal Poly.
In the eighth, Doss picked up his third hit of the afternoon with a one-out double. Following a groundout, Lee hit a towering home run to right field, extending the Mustang lead to 7-0.
Weston (6-3) closed out the game in the ninth, securing his second complete game of the season. Weston finished with nine strikeouts, allowing no walks and giving up just five hits in his nine scoreless innings of work.
With the win, Cal Poly secured their eighth Big West series victory and pushed their winning streak to 10 games.
The Mustangs finished off their three-game series against UC Davis with a 6-3 win to complete the sweep.
On Senior Day, the Mustangs extended their win streak to 11 as the big bats came out with both Lopez and Brooks Lee smashing home runs to deep left-center field. The rotation of senior Dylan Villalobos, sophomore Bryce Warrecker and senior Jason Franks held the Aggies to four hits.
The struggling Aggies started the game off with multiple errors on defense, dropping a leadoff pop up from Marinconz and then throwing a wild pitch to move him to second. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Stafford a couple of batters later scored Marinconz and gave the Mustangs a one-run lead in the first.
In the third, Brooks Lee and Stafford reached base with a pair of base knocks, setting up Lopez, who blasted his fourth home run of the year. In his final home game wearing the Green and Gold, Lopez sent a high-flying ball into the trees in left-center, breaking the ball game wide open at 4-0.
Lopez’s home run was followed by Brook Lee’s 15th of the year in the next inning. The sophomore sensation’s two-run blast on a full count gave the Mustangs a 6-0 lead.
The Aggies were held hitless until the fifth inning, thanks to great work from Villalobos, whom Coach Lee leans on during Sunday games to start.
“They only scored in two of the 27 innings [this weekend],” Coach Lee said. “It starts with starting pitching, and on Sundays, it’s a bullpen day. We’ve been going on Villalobos, and he pitches on adrenaline because of his couple of bad knees.”
Jonah Henrickson broke through to give the Aggies their first runs of the whole weekend with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, making the score 6-2.
The Mustangs were held scoreless after the Brooks Lee homer in the fourth. A couple of chances in the fifth and seventh came up empty, but the closing pitching of Franks was all they needed to secure their eighth Big West series victory.
The Mustangs outhit the Aggies 8-4, but Yorke saw his 20-game hitting streak, the fifth-longest in Cal Poly history, come to an end.
After the series, Cal Poly sits at 20-7 in the Big West, two games above the 18-9 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors The Mustangs travel to Honolulu next weekend with game one of three on Friday, May 27 at 9:30 p.m PST.
Coach Lee says it’s all business in the tropics as the team vies for an at-large bid to a regional tournament.
“It’s a business trip; it’s not a vacation,” Coach Lee said. “It’s not a good trip for us; it’s long, but we’ve had success in the past.”