Cal Poly baseball (5-6) traveled to take on UNLV (6-5) for a three-game series from Friday, Mar. 4 through Sunday, Mar. 6 in Las Vegas. The Mustangs and Rebels split the opening two games before UNLV routed Cal Poly in the series finale.
In the series opener, the Mustangs surrendered two late-game leads en route to dropping game one 7-6 in extra innings to UNLV.
Sophomore righthander Drew Thorpe had double-digit strikeouts again on the mound, but late-game blunders by the Mustangs let the game slip away. Thorpe currently has 33 strikeouts in three appearances on the mound.
Cal Poly has led in the sixth inning of every game this season but they have struggled to keep leads late in games, and game one of this series was no different.
After a scoreless first, junior infielder Taison Corio doubled in his first start of the season. Then, power-hitting senior third baseman Tate Samuelson followed with a double that moved Corio to third.
Graduate outfielder John Lagattuta struck out on a wild pitch, but he reached first and Corio scored as Samuelson advanced to third. Sophomore centerfielder Reagan Doss then hit a sacrifice fly to score Samuelson and put the Mustangs up 2-0.
Thorpe has one of his best innings of the season in the bottom of the second, striking out all three batters on 10 pitches – one pitch away from an immaculate inning.
In the top of the third, freshman catcher Ryan Stafford hit his first collegiate home run to extend the Cal Poly lead to 3-0.
After Thorpe held them scoreless in the third, the Rebels opened up the scoring in the fourth inning. They brought in two runs off a solo homer, a double and a single.
Up 3-2, Stafford reached on a four-pitch walk and sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee got his second hit of the game with a first-pitch single. However, the inning ended with Lee trying to take second after a strikeout at the plate.
Thrope had back-to-back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth on 13 pitches to maintain the Mustang lead.
A quiet sixth inning was followed by a Doss single up the middle to start off the seventh. Following Doss, Brett Borgogno reached on a fielder’s choice bunt and Stafford reached base for a third time with a single. After a UNLV pitching change, Lee reached base for a third time on an RBI single that scored Borgogno and put the Mustangs up 4-2.
Thorpe saw just one batter in the eighth inning and left the game with a 4-2 lead. Senior righthander Jason Franks came in for Thorpe and got a flyout and let up a walk. Immediately after the walk, righthander Kyle Scott came in for Franks and let up an RBI single to cut the Mustang lead to 4-3.
After a scoreless top of the ninth for Cal Poly, the Rebels rallied late. UNLV poured on a double and two singles to tie the game up at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, a walk for senior Matt Lopez and a double from junior catcher Collin Villegas put two runners on base. Borgogno then singled to right-center on a 1-0 pitch to bring both runners home and put Cal Poly up 6-4 heading into the bottom of the tenth inning.
Despite the momentum swing, the Mustangs saw the late lead slip away for the second time in two innings. After getting the first three batters on base, the Rebels scored two runs to inch closer at 6-5. UNLV then walked off the game thanks to a pair of Cal Poly wild pitches that scored two runs.
After Friday’s heartbreaking loss, a Saturday slugfest saw the Mustang and Rebel offenses flex their muscles in a 15-11 Cal Poly win. The two squads combined for 35 hits with six home runs in game two.
UNLV capitalized in the bottom of the first with a two-out knock to grab an early lead. The Rebels extended their lead to 2-0 with a leadoff home run in the second.
The hot bat of Borgogno continued, with a one-out home run in the top of the third to cut the UNLV lead to 2-1.
A scoreless fourth inning from both sides sent the game to the fifth. A leadoff single from Stafford began the inning and a two-out double from sophomore infielder Joe Yorke tied the game at 2-2. A Lopez single and Villegas double then brought Yorke in to capture the lead. To cap off the inning, Lopez scored to make it 4-2 Mustangs on a UNLV error.
The Rebels would not go away in the bottom half, hitting two doubles and a single to tie the game back at 4-4.
In the top of the sixth, Stafford hit his second home run of the series to recapture the lead. Lee and Samuelson followed with back-to-back doubles to extend the Cal Poly lead to 6-4.
A leadoff double from Villegas opened the top of the seventh and a single from redshirt freshman Mattias Haas scored Villegas to make the Mustangs’ lead 7-4.
The UNLV offense exploded in the bottom of the seventh, scoring six runs on five hits, and they led 10-7 with two innings to play.
In the top of the eighth, Stafford reached base and Lee blasted a two-run home run to cut the Rebel lead to 10-9. Tate Samuelson, the very next batter, followed up Lee with a homer of his own to tie the game at 10-10.
The Mustang offense kept its foot on the gas in the top of the ninth, erupting for five runs on four hits to take a late 15-10 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, a solo home run made it a 15-11 game, but the UNLV offense could not keep up and the slugfest ended with Cal Poly on top.
Redshirt junior starting pitcher Travis Weston got a no-decision after giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out 10. Franks (2-1) got the win after 2 ⅓ innings of work where he struck out four and gave up only one run.
With the series up for grabs, the Mustangs could not keep pace with the Rebel offense as they dropped the series finale 15-3.
UNLV struck first in the first inning, scoring two runs on three hits.
Following a scoreless second from both teams, the Mustangs got on the board in the third thanks to a Stafford sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Samuelson to tie the game at 2-2.
The Rebels offense didn’t slow down, as they added four runs in the third to take a 6-2 lead.
UNLV would plate one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and three in the sixth to take a commanding 12-2 lead. The Mustang offense was quiet until the seventh when Lopez led the inning off with a home run to move the score to 12-3.
Three runs for UNLV in the bottom of the eighth capped the scoring from both offenses for the rest of the afternoon, resulting in a 15-3 victory for the Rebels in game three and a series win.
Sophomore starting pitcher Kaden Sheedy (1-1) suffered the loss, as he went only two innings and gave up six runs on seven Rebel hits. The Mustangs used five relievers in the final game of the series.
Cal Poly will welcome San Jose State to Baggett Stadium on Tuesday, March 8 for a mid-week matchup at 6 p.m.