Cal Poly Baseball’s early struggles continued with three losses in a four-game set against Oregon State from Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4 at Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (3-7) played the Beavers (9-2) well for the majority of the series, but they only managed one win on the weekend.
Cal Poly opened the series up on Thursday with a late-inning blown lead to fall to OSU by a score of 5-4.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the fourth inning on a chilly night under the lights.
Freshman righthander Charlie Royle drew the start for the Mustangs, while it was Rhett Larson on the bump for the Beavers.
After a leadoff single and stolen base to start the game for OSU, a ground ball to redshirt sophomore second baseman Kemet Brown was mishandled, allowing the run to score and giving the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Oregon State went back-to-back with home runs to each side of the park to bring the advantage to 3-0.
The Mustangs answered in a major way, piling on four runs in the bottom of the fourth to grab the lead.
Freshman first baseman Evan Cloyd got the inning started by reaching second on an error by the right fielder before being balked over to third.
Redshirt freshman Tanner Sagouspe singled Cloyd in to put the first run on the board for the Mustangs.
Cal Poly then loaded the bases before sophomore catcher Ryan Stafford chopped a ball into the dirt where neither the catcher nor pitcher could reach it, scoring a run to bring the score to 3-2.
Junior shortstop Aaron Casillas got in on the fun with a single into right field to score yet another run, and senior left fielder Collin Villegas hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-3 before Oregon State could escape the inning.
The eventful fourth was followed up by three scoreless innings, with the game remaining at 4-3 heading into the eighth.
The top of the eighth was led off with a hit by pitch. Oregon State then elected to lay a bunt down that was thrown into the outfield by freshman third baseman Tate Shimao.
Another bunt advanced the runner from first to second, putting both runners in scoring position.
After striking out the next batter, junior righty Derek True gave up a long double off the wall that scored both runners and put the Beavers up 5-4, a lead that they would hold for the remainder of the game.
The Cal Poly offense couldn’t regain any momentum for its final two frames at the plate, resulting in a loss in the series opener.
Cal Poly fell in the Friday night showdown to the Beavers, 7-2.
Oregon State scored six unearned runs over the final five frames to pick up its second win in as many days over the Mustangs.
Junior starting pitcher Bryce Warrecker posted two strikeouts over the first two innings to keep the Beaver offense at bay.
Cal Poly opened the scoring thanks to an RBI single from Villegas, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The Mustangs would strand the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Beavers then quickly responded with a two-out solo home run in the fourth to tie it up.
In the bottom half, Casillas drew a bases-loaded walk to retake the Cal Poly lead, 2-1.
Oregon State would score in four of the next five innings to close the game, highlighted by three solo shots.
The Mustang offense went cold during that time, gathering only two hits.
Warrecker (1-1) finished with five earned runs on six hits in seven innings, striking out six in the process.
Cal Poly’s offense left 11 runners on base and totaled 13 strikeouts.
Saturday Game One
Cal Poly picked up its lone win of the series by a score of 4-2 in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Graduate lefthander Travis Weston got the start and went six innings to pick up the win. Weston was relieved by True, who struck out two in two scoreless innings, and junior right-hander Kyle Scott, who picked up his first save with a scoreless ninth.
However, it was Oregon State that got on the board first with a sacrifice fly from Ruben Cedillo to give his squad the 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Mustangs answered in the bottom of the first with a solo home run from Villegas, his fourth of the year, making the score 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Shimao came up big with a two-RBI double to give Cal Poly its first lead of the game at 3-1.
Following a scoreless fifth, the Beavers added on one more run to cut the Mustang lead down to 3-2.
The Mustangs got that run right back thanks to an RBI double from Cloyd, putting his team back up two runs at 4-2.
Thanks to dominant performances by True and Scott in the last three innings, that would end up being the final score of the early Saturday matchup.
Saturday Game Two
Despite a last-ditch comeback attempt in the final inning, the Mustangs came up short in the final game of the series, dropping the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader by a score of 3-1.
As the game began, it didn’t appear as though the Mustangs—or the Beavers—would make it a very interesting contest offensively, as both teams were held scoreless after the first two innings of play.
However, it was in the OSU frame of the third that the Mustangs’ redshirt junior starter Ryan Baum ran into trouble. The Beavers tacked on their first runs of the ballgame thanks to a two-RBI single by Gavin Turley that gave OSU a 2-0 lead.
Baum managed to prevent any further damage, but enough was already done, as his night ended after the third inning.
The rest of the game became a question of whether or not sophomore reliever Steven Brooks could keep the Mustangs’ hopes alive. Brooks worked six innings in relief of Baum, and it seemed as though he was on his way to doing just that.
However, a wild pitch with two outs in the seventh allowed OSU to score the third and final run of the game for the visitors.
On the offensive side, the Mustangs struggled, as Beavers’ starter Jaren Hunter was virtually untouchable until the ninth inning.
It was in that final frame of the contest that the Green and Gold finally managed to plate a run, thanks to a two-out RBI single through the left side by Sagouspe that made it a 3-1 game.
However, it proved to be too little, too late, as Beaver closer Ryan Brown came on in relief, recorded his third save of the season on just five pitches and gave the Beavers the 3-1 victory.
Even with the loss, Brooks felt that the team not only played hard but learned some things about themselves throughout the series.
“I think today we learned a lot about how we can finish games and having confidence with what we got,” Brooks said. “Iron sharpens iron. When you get to play against teams [as good as OSU], you get better. You can learn a lot from what they do and how you respond to teams that are that good.”
Up next, Cal Poly will look to get back in the win column when they host the Xavier Musketeers on Tuesday, March 7, at 6 P.M. inside Baggett Stadium.