Last weekend, Cal Poly Baseball opened their 2019 season on the losing end of a three game sweep to the University of Oklahoma, but went on to take a 7-1 win over CSU Bakersfield. The season-opening series on Feb. 15-17 was played at L. Dale Mitchell Stadium in Oklahoma. The losses follow a pattern set in recent years in which the Mustangs start slow before finishing the season on a high note.
In the first-ever meeting between Oklahoma (3-0) and Cal Poly (0-3), the Mustangs both outhit and out-pitched their opponents. Despite the better boxscore, Cal Poly only registered one run compared to the Sooners’ four.
The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when the Sooners took a 1-0 lead. Two innings later, the Mustangs evened the game at 1-1 with an RBI from sophomore Tate Samuelson. However, the lone run would be the only score of the night for Cal Poly. The Mustangs went on to leave two runners on base on three separate occasions.
Oklahoma broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning despite never registering a hit. Two walks and a wild pitch resulted in Brandon Zaragoza crossing home plate for the Sooners. After another walk, Tyler Hardman registered a sacrifice fly RBI to bring Ware home for a 3-1 Oklahoma lead. The Sooners wrapped the game up with another score in the eighth inning, this time resulting from a passed ball at home plate.
Of Cal Poly’s seven hits, freshman second baseman Willie Cano and sophomore designated hitter Blake Wagenseller each totaled two. Senior pitcher Jarred Zill (0-1), who allowed only three hits over five innings, was credited with the loss.
On Saturday, 11 Oklahoma hits and five Cal Poly errors lead to a 9-3 Sooner victory. Junior center fielder Bradlee Beesley led the Mustangs’ offense by batting home all three of Cal Poly’s runs. Beesley’s four-hit game was the fifth of his collegiate career.
Tanner Tredaway and Zaragoza each registered an RBI in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 deadlock for Oklahoma. In the fifth inning, an RBI from Jordan Vujovich extended Oklahoma’s lead to 4-1. However, it was the sixth inning that ended the Mustangs’ chance at a win. The Sooners recorded a single, double, triple and a groundout to double their score. The Mustangs committed two errors during Oklahoma’s scoring drive that gave the Sooners an 8-1 lead.
Cal Poly responded with three hits in the next inning – good enough for their final two runs. Beesley’s single to right field drove home Cano and freshman outfielder Noah Taylor. An Oklahoma RBI from Walla in the eighth inning concluded the game at 9-3.
Beesley went 4-5 at the plate with two singles and a pair of doubles. Sophomore right fielder Elijah Greene and junior catcher Myles Emmerson each added a pair of hits for the Mustangs’ offense. However, Cal Poly left 13 runners on base without capitalizing on their chances. The win was granted to Nathan Wiles (1-0) after allowing three runs through seven innings. Wiles, who finished 7-3 last year, totaled three strikeouts. Mustang pitcher Dylan Villalobos (0-1) was straddled with the loss after giving up two runs in the fourth inning.
Oklahoma completed their three-game sweep with a 5-2 victory over Cal Poly on Sunday, Feb. 17. Despite being a one-run game through the seventh inning, the Sooners broke away with three runs in bottom of the eighth to secure the season-opening series.
Hardman put Oklahoma on the scoreboard early in the second inning with a RBI double down the right-field line. The next run came in the fifth inning due to a Cal Poly fielding error which allowed Oklahoma’s Blake Brewster to reach first base. Two groundouts brought Brewster home for an unearned run. In the seventh, Beesley and Samuelson each registered a hit to position Beesley at third base. Sophomore third baseman Nick DiCarlo followed up with a sacrifice fly to drive Beesley home for the Mustang’s first run of the night. Cal Poly trailed 2-1.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Oklahoma took full control of the game. Regardless of the team leaving two runners on base in the inning, the Sooners scored three runs off four hits. Conor McKenna’s double resulted in two RBI’s despite McKenna being thrown out at third. Cade Cavalli followed up with a triple to right-center before Hardman drove him in for a 5-1 Oklahoma lead. In the final inning of the game, Cal Poly kept their bats swinging. Greene and Samuelson both singled to put Beesley in a scoring position at third base. Wagenseller singled to right-center to bring Beesley home, concluding the game at 5-2.
Sophomore pitcher Darren Nelson (0-1) received the loss after he allowed two runs and three hits over five innings. However, it was the four relievers who surrendered three runs late in the game. Levi Prater (1-0) was awarded with the win as he struck out five batters and walked only one. Beesley, who registered a pair of singles along with Samuelson, finished the series with seven hits.
Tuesday at CSU Bakersfield
After taking an early lead, Cal Poly never let up to take a 7-1 win over CSU Bakersfield. The Mustangs (1-3) scored three runs in the third inning on the way to their first win of the season.
In the top of the third inning, redshirt freshman second baseman Connor Gurnik drew a walk and stole second before scoring the opening run on an RBI single by Greene. Greene and Beesley combined for two more runs after back-to-back wild pitches by Roadrunner pitcher Kevin Altamirano.
The Mustangs pushed their lead to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning as Beesley’s RBI single drove sophomore left fielder Cole Cabrera home.
In his first start as a Mustang, freshman righthander Bryan Woo struck out seven Roadrunners while only walking one. Villalobos (1-1) picked up his first win, striking out five Roadrunners in 3 2/3 innings.
Cal Poly had another scoring outburst in the top of the eighth inning. Greene’s second RBI single allowed Cabrera to score his second run of the game. Beesley hit a 2 RBI single, bringing in Cano and junior catcher John Mackay for the 7-0 lead. Beesley leads the Mustangs with six RBI and nine hits. He also leads the Big West Conference with a .563 batting average.
CSU Bakersfield got on the board in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring a run off of a wild pitch in Cal Poly’s 7-1 win.
Cal Poly returns to Baggett Stadium to play California in a three-game series starting Friday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.