Sophomore designated hitter Josh George had one of the Mustangs' two runs in Saturday night's blowout loss to UC Irvine. | Hanna Crowley/Mustang News

After weeks of struggling and losing six consecutive conference games, the Mustangs finally seemed to be turning a new leaf after dominating UC Irvine in a 9-1 series-opening victory on Friday – a game marked by freshman left fielder Alex McKenna’s five RBIs, including a three-home run.

However, the Mustangs played an entirely different game on Saturday, committing five errors and losing to Irvine 11-2 in the second game of the series.

Like many of Cal Poly’s blowout losses, one bad inning cost the Mustangs the entire game – as most recently seen in their 7-1 loss to Cal and 14-3 upset loss against Long Beach State.

This time, the Mustangs allowed Irvine to score five runs in the top of the seventh inning – but only two runs were earned. The Mustangs committed several errors, including a throwing error from freshman catcher Nick Meyer and a fielding error from freshman shortstop Kyle Marinconz that allowed the Anteaters to score.

But it didn’t stop there. The Anteaters scored four more runs in the top of the ninth inning, completing a total of nine runs across the final three innings.

However, at the start of the game and for a solid six innings, it was unclear whose game it was going to be – as both teams got off to a strong start. The Anteaters knocked a home run in the top of the first inning to take an early lead in the game, but the Mustangs followed with their own home run from senior right fielder John Schuknecht in the bottom of the second inning that tied the game at one apiece.

It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning that Irvine snapped the tied score with a run to take the lead 2-1, before scoring nine more runs and ending the game.

Cal Poly’s sophomore designated hitter Josh George was able to add a run for the Mustangs in the bottom of the ninth on a double by pinch hitter Dylan Doherty, cutting the deficit to single digits before ending the game with two left on base.

The Mustangs also struggled on the mound after the sixth inning, rotating between five pitchers who collectively gave up 14 hits to the Anteaters while throwing several wild pitches.

The two teams will face off again on Sunday afternoon in Baggett Stadium in a pivotal game as both are tied for sixth place in the Big West Conference standings with 8-9 conference records.

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