Cal Poly Baseball lost three of four games in a home series against UC Irvine from Friday, April 16 to Sunday, April 18 inside Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (17-15, 7-9 Big West) walked off with a thrilling win in Saturday’s first game, but UC Irvine (22-11, 16-4 Big West) took the remainder of the matches.
Cal Poly lost 11-6 to UC Irvine after a four-run ninth inning by the Anteaters on Friday.
Irvine scored the first run of the game in the third inning when Nathan Church hit an RBI single to right center to give the Anteaters a 1-0 lead.
The Mustangs, however, quickly answered back with four runs in the third inning. Junior designated hitter Matt Lopez and junior infielder Tate Samuelson hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead. Then, junior outfielder Nick DiCarlo hit a two-RBI single to extend the Mustang lead to 4-1.
The Mustangs further extended the lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning when senior catcher Myles Emmerson hit a RBI single.
The Mustangs did not hold on to their four-run lead for long as UC Irvine tied the game at 5-5 in the following inning. The Anteaters’ Church hit a two-RBI single to cut Cal Poly’s lead to 5-3. The next Anteater batter, Mike Peabody, hit a two-RBI double to tie the game at 5-5.
Cal Poly quickly took back the lead later in the fifth inning when freshman infielder Joe Yorke hit a RBI-single to give the Mustangs a 6-5 lead.
However, the Anteaters scored six unanswered runs to finish the game including four runs in the ninth inning.
Cal Poly freshman starting pitcher Drew Thorpe exited in the fifth inning after giving up five runs and five hits. Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Kyle Scott (1-1) suffered the loss after giving up the tying and go-ahead runs.
Both teams recorded 11 hits, however Cal Poly left 11 runners on base. Freshman shortstop Brooks Lee led the Mustangs with three hits.
Saturday Game 1
Cal Poly came away with an exhilarating 4-3 walk-off win against UC Irvine in Saturday’s first matchup.
Redshirt junior left hander Andrew Alvarez (4-2) tossed seven strong innings with seven strikeouts, four hits, one walk and one earned run in the start. Freshman Evan Tomlinson got the win on the day after pitching two thirds of an inning.
The game started with a bang courtesy of Lee, who went yard on a booming home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the first inning.
Neither team would cross home plate over the next five innings. Both squads combined for only four hits over the same period of time.
Action would pick up in the seventh inning, as UCI was finally able to string together some offense in the top half of the inning. The Anteaters loaded the bases with no outs by way of a hit-by-pitch and an errant throw by the defense.
However, Alvarez continued to battle from the bump and struck out the next two batters, the first looking, and the second swinging. The ensuing batter drove a ball through the middle of the infield, and after an error two runs would come in to score.
UC Irvine added to their lead in the eighth inning after a single and a bad throw on an attempted steal. The Anteaters took a 3-1 lead as a runner on third came home in the next at bat.
In the ninth inning after a leadoff flyout, Samuelson was hit by a pitch and took first base, and would later steal second. After a pop out led to the second out of the inning, redshirt sophomore Taison Corio pinch hit and reached base on a bad throw to first. Samuelson made it all the way around the bases to score, and Corio wound up at third at the end of the play.
The Anteaters made a pitching change for the final out of the game after 8.2 solid innings from Nick Pinto, bringing in Jacob King. The first batter he faced was Yorke, who he hit with a pitch to load the bases.
Redshirt freshman Nick Marinconz stepped to the plate and won the game in walk-off fashion. A deep drive to left field looked like it would be caught by Luke Spillane before he ran into the wall and could not complete the catch, helping the Mustangs come away with a 4-3 win.
The Mustangs took a 1-1 series tie into the second game of the Saturday doubleheader with Irvine.
Saturday Game 2
In the second game on Saturday, the Mustangs were unable to carry their momentum from their walk-off win, losing to Irvine by a score of 4-1. Cal Poly’s offense suffered from a strong showing by UC Irvine’s Michael Frias, who struck out nine batters and only allowed two hits through eight innings pitched.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Travis Weston (3-4) was on the mound for Cal Poly and pitched a complete game for the day, allowing eight hits and four earned runs in his performance.
Cal Poly opened the scoring In the bottom of the second inning. After a wild pitch by Frias, Yorke recorded a RBI infield hit to bring home DiCarlo.
The Anteaters got themselves on the board in the top of the fifth with a leadoff home run by Dillon Tatum. The next batter hit a triple and scored off an ensuing sacrifice fly, making the score 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The fifth and sixth innings proved difficult for the Mustangs, with Frias striking out four of the seven batters he faced in those two innings.
Irvine widened their lead in the top of the seventh with a leadoff home run by Tatum, his second home run of the game. After a pair of singles and a wild throw, the Anteaters had two runners in scoring position when a sacrifice fly brought home a runner from third, moving the score to 4-1 where it would remain for the rest of the game.
The Mustangs’ offensive woes continued in the seventh inning with Frias retiring the side in order off of two strikeouts.
Any chance of a Cal Poly comeback was stopped quickly when closing pitcher Gordon Ingebritson secured the save by allowing only one hit in the ninth inning, a single from Dicarlo. Dicarlo’s single made him the only Mustang to have multiple hits in the game.
The Anteaters’ offensive performance was highlighted by a 3-3 day by Tatum which included two leadoff home runs.
The Mustangs moved onto Sunday looking to even the series 2-2.
Irvine put on a hitting clinic against Cal Poly in the final game of the series, recording 19 hits in a 17-1 rout of the Mustangs that ended after seven innings.
Peter Van Loon got the start for UCI, but the win went to Michael Stanford who came in the fifth inning, giving him a 2-0 record on the season. Left handed pitcher Bryce Warrecker started on the mound for Cal Poly and took the loss despite being taken out in the first inning.
Eight pitchers took the mound for the Mustangs in only seven innings.
In the top of the first inning, UCI rallied with six straight hits all with two outs, giving them a 5-0 lead. Warrecker was taken out with two outs in the first, finishing with 0.2 innings pitched, six hits and five earned runs allowed.
The second inning proved to be much of the same for the Anteaters when they scored three more runs off of three hits, widening their lead to 8-0.
Sophomore catcher Collin Villegas got the first hit for the Mustangs in the bottom of the second which was followed up with a single from freshman outfielder Reagan Doss. The rally was ended prematurely when Yorke had a fly out to the third baseman.
The Anteaters matched their first inning total with five runs in the fourth. Cal Poly used two pitchers to get through the inning, as Irvine’s Tatum homered again in the process. The inning ended with a score of 13-0 in favor of Irvine.
The Mustangs had a much more productive fifth inning when Yorke and Corio reached base. After both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch, Lee brought Yorke home on a sacrifice fly, making the score 13-1.
Freshman right hander Jake Buxton took the mound in the sixth for the Mustangs, their sixth pitcher of the game. Buxton would only last one out and, after walking the bases loaded, was replaced by redshirt sophomore Zach Button. Button then gave up a grand slam to UCI’s Mike Peabody, moving the score to 17-1 and giving the Anteaters their 19th hit of the game.
After a scoreless seventh inning, the Mercy Rule was enacted with irvine leading by more than 10 runs after seven innings. The game ended with a final score of 17-1.
UCI had nine different players get hits in the game, and handed Cal Poly their worst loss of the season.
Cal Poly will look to bounce back with a four-game away series against UC Riverside beginning on Friday, April 23.