Credit: Eyasu Betwos | Mustang News

Eight innings of shutout baseball were not enough for the Mustangs as they fell by a score of 3-1 to San Jose State on Tuesday, Mar. 8 inside Baggett Stadium. 

Cal Poly (5-7) has now dropped four of their last five games as the Spartans (9-4) got their first win of the season away from home. Freshman catcher ​​Ryan Stafford was the player of the game for the Mustangs, as he went 2-4 with two doubles and a run scored. 

Led by Stafford, Cal Poly got off to a fast start offensively. After Stafford doubled down the left-field line to lead off the bottom of the first, a pair of ground balls by sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee and senior third baseman Tate Samuelson brought home the catcher to give the Mustangs the 1-0 lead.

However, the Mustangs went 0-12 for the rest of the game with runners in scoring position, including chances in the third and sixth innings when runners were on second and third with less than two outs.

The Spartan pitching staff held the Big West Conference’s best hitting team by average, at .304, to only five hits on the night.

​​Starter Aaron Eden pitched five innings for the win, allowing one run on four hits. Ethan Ross, Darren Jansen and Brady Hill all followed in relief shutout baseball. 

Freshman right-hander Steven Brooks got his third start of the year for Cal Poly on Tuesday and he tossed five shutout innings while tallying eight strikeouts. However, Brooks was taken out in the sixth for freshman Noah Larkin

Larkin gave up a leadoff double to designated hitter Brady Hill and two batters later graduate second baseman Brett Borgogno was unable to field a sharply hit ground ball cleanly, leaving the runners on the corners with one out. 

Four pitches into the next at-bat, the Spartans’ third-baseman Danny Zimmerman popped one up down the right-field line. Graduate right fielder John Lagattuta came in hard at it and then seemingly put on the brakes to let the ball fall foul. However, it landed right on the foul line in fair territory.

The runner on third scored to tie the game and, to make matters worse, Lagattuta wildly fired the ball to a moving Lee trying to cover second base. The ball flew past Lee and into left field as the Spartans kept on running until they stood on second and third base with still one out. 

The next batter doubled into right-center, clearing the bases and giving the Spartans the 3-1 lead.

Cal Poly looked to dig into the Spartans’ lead with the top of the lineup coming up in the seventh inning, but they stranded Lee on second base.

Backed by solid pitching, the Spartans coasted the rest of the game to a 3-1 victory.

San Jose State outhit the Mustangs 7-5, with all seven hits coming from different players. 

Cal Poly will take on Harvard University in a four-game series from Friday, Mar. 12 through Sunday, Mar. 14 inside Baggett Stadium. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. as the Mustangs play their last series before conference play begins.

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