The Cal Poly baseball team (19-12) hosted No. 17 California (20-9) on Tuesday for a nonconference ballgame, losing 7-1 after a fielding error allowed the Bears to score five runs.
Freshman Cam Schneider started on the mound for the Mustangs, not allowing the Bears a single hit in the first three innings.
“Once I keep the ball down, let my defense work, we can get anybody out, no matter who the player is or the team,” Schneider said.
The game remained quiet and scoreless for both teams until the fourth inning, when the Bears scored six runs off of only four hits.
Cal’s six-run inning started when sophomore catcher Brett Cumberland scored the Bears’ first run, scoring on a single by sophomore right fielder Denis Karas.
With the bases loaded for the Bears and freshman Austin Dondanville pitching, Cal sophomore shortstop Preston Grand Pre struck out swinging.
But striking out didn’t stop the Bears from scoring.
A two-out fielding error by freshman shortstop Kyle Marinconz led to sixteen extra pitches and allowed the Bears to score the other five runs in the fourth inning, all unearned.
“Even though we only made one error, it was a costly error and it changed the whole complexion of the ballgame,” head coach Larry Lee said. “Instead of going to the bottom of the fourth down 1-0, we were down 6-0. Still had some opportunities, but really, the ballgame is decided just off that one play.”
The Bears increased their lead to 7-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning after a triple down the left field by Grand Pre.
Freshman catcher Nick Meyer scored the Mustangs’ only run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, advancing off of a single by freshman designated hitter Josh Olivarria.
Each team had five hits apiece, with four of the Bears’ five hits coming from their six-run fourth inning.
The Mustangs look to bounce back in a three-game series this weekend at Hawaii, their second Big West Conference opponent of the season.
“With conference play, it’s a whole new season, it doesn’t matter how we did early on,” Schneider said. “They’re (Hawaii) a pretty good team so we’re just looking to compete and to play as hard as we can so we can get ahead and be on the top of Big West.”