Friday’s storm cleared just in time for the Cal Poly baseball team to begin conference play against Cal State Fullerton. However, the Titans spoiled the nicer weather, defeating the Mustangs 2-1.
The first three innings went scoreless, but the Titans were the first to get on the board with a fly ball to right field in the top of the fourth inning to bring in a run. The second run came in soon after on a fielding error by Mustangs shortstop Kyle Marinconz.
Freshman right hander Spencer Howard came to the mound for starting pitcher Kyle Smith in the top of the seventh inning. Smith, a sophomore, pitched a total of 117 pitches and gave up six hits.
Sophomore left fielder Josh George contributed a single in the bottom of the seventh inning, the second hit of the night for the Mustangs. Infielder Michael Sanderson singled immediately after, advancing George to second base.
Freshman second baseman Dylan Doherty then came up to the plate with no outs and hit a sac bunt to advance both runners into scoring position.
With only one out, the crowd got up on its feet with excitement after freshman catcher Nick Meyer loaded the bases after the Titans’ defense misplayed a high pop up. The Mustangs got on the board after Meyer singled into left field.
With one out, the bases loaded and the Titans leading 2-1, tension reached its peak.
However, the Mustangs stranded all runners and were forced to move on to the eighth inning.
Junior reliever Justin Calomeni came in to close out the ninth inning for Howard, where he earned a strikeout with two runners on base.
The Mustangs had the chance to score again in the bottom of the ninth, but left two runners stranded once again and the game ended in Fullerton’s favor.
Junior outfielder Kevin Morgan discussed what it was like to be the one at the plate in the bottom of the inning with two outs. “It’s pretty intense,” Morgan said. “You want to come through for the team. You’ve got to try to come out on top and be the guy for the team and get the win.”
Though the Mustangs faced a loss, the players were glad to have former major leaguer and former Mustang Kevin Correia back in Baggett Stadium to throw the game’s honorary first pitch.
“It was definitely a cool experience,” Morgan said. “I know he was talking to some of the pitchers about mindset, so it’s definitely helpful for them, and really exciting.”
Correia was just as thrilled to be back at Cal Poly.
“San Luis Obispo has always had a spot in my heart,” Correia said. “It’s where I met my wife, and it’s where I really started my professional career. This has always been a place that I’ve looked forward to getting back to.”
The Mustangs continue the series against the Titans at 6 p.m. on April 9 in Baggett Stadium.