Cal Poly Baseball won one game out of three in a weekend series against No. 5 Michigan Feb. 28-March 1 inside Baggett Stadium. After dropping an extra-innings battle to the Wolverines by a score of 4-3 on Friday, the Mustangs rebounded with a 10-inning win on Saturday to even the series at 1-1. However, Cal Poly gave up a late lead in the seventh inning of the series finale, ultimately losing 4-2.
Cal Poly fell 4-3 to Michigan in 10 innings on Friday, Feb. 28. The Mustangs came from behind to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, but failed to respond after the Wolverines scored the game-winning run in the top of the tenth.
“Our players have to understand how to go about finishing the game with confidence,” head coach Larry Lee said.
After a 1-2-3 inning by junior right hander Taylor Dollard opened the game, the Cal Poly offense wasted no time in taking an early lead. Junior outfielder Cole Cabrera blasted the first pitch of the first inning over the left field wall for his second home run of the season, putting the Mustangs up 1-0. An error by the Wolverines later in the inning brought home senior outfielder Bradlee Beesley for a 2-0 lead.
The score remained at 2-0 until the fifth inning when the Michigan offense got on the scoreboard with two runs of their own against Dollard. The two runs were scored on a two-RBI double from junior infielder Jack Blomgren.
Dollard completed seven innings of work and allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out nine batters. Dollard’s nine strikeouts bring his season total to 31, which is first in the Big West Conference.
“Dollard really battled tonight,” Lee said. “[Michigan] did a good job adjusting to him, but he gave us seven innings and left with a tie game.”
After going scoreless in the sixth and seventh, the Wolverines took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth courtesy of a RBI single from redshirt sophomore infielder Danny Zimmerman. A throwing error by the Mustangs placed a runner in scoring position at the beginning of the inning.
“Our infield defense didn’t take care of the ball,” Lee said. “It’s difficult when you’re giving them extra outs.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Cal Poly answered with a RBI sac fly off the bat of junior infielder Nick DiCarlo to tie the score at three apiece and send the game to extra innings. However, the Mustangs’ momentum was quickly squashed as Michigan scored another run in the top of the tenth through a wild pitch by sophomore righthander Bryan Woo. Cal Poly couldn’t answer in the bottom half of the inning as the game ended with a final score of 4-3.
“We need to bring attitude to the game,” Lee said. “We need to not be scared and go after someone.”
After an extra-innings loss on Friday, the Mustangs went into extra-innings once again on Saturday before ultimately winning 4-3 via a walk-off single from freshman second baseman Taison Corio in the bottom of the 10th.
Cal Poly was the first to score through a two-run home run past center field off the bat of freshman shortstop Nick Marinconz in the third inning.
On the mound, junior pitcher Andrew Alverez kept Michigan without a run through the first five innings. In the seventh inning, Alvarez allowed two doubles for a Michigan run before junior righthander Dylan Villalobos came into the game with no outs. The Wolverines produced two additional hits while the Mustangs committed a fielding error to grant Michigan a 4-2 lead in the top of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cabrera led off with single and advanced to third base on two wild pitches. Senior catcher Myles Emmerson followed up with a walk to put runners at the corners. The pair pulled off a double steal with strategic baserunning to cut the Michigan lead to 4-3.
Down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Cal Poly loaded the bases with no outs. Beesley grounded into a double play to push across the game-tying run at a score of 4-4.
Freshman righthander Kyle Scott retired three batters in a row in the top of the tenth inning. In the bottom of the inning, junior outfielder Blake Wagenseller kicked off the game-winning drive with a double before the Mustangs drew a walk and a hit to place a runner on third. Corio secured the 5-4 win with a walk-off single to left center field.
Cal Poly lost the series-deciding match at a final score of 4-2 after dropping a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
The Mustangs led for the majority of the game largely due to a dominant performance by starting pitcher Drew Thorpe. Thorpe allowed just two runs over six innings while striking out eight Michigan batters.
Cal Poly got on the board first after Emmerson made it home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning. Thorpe’s big moment came in the fifth inning when the Wolverines loaded the bases with one out. Thorpe punched out the next two batters to escape without harm as Cal Poly held onto its 1-0 advantage.
However, Michigan responded in the sixth inning via four hits to draw the score even at 1-1. The Mustangs followed with a sacrifice bunt by Emmerson in the bottom of the sixth to put Cal Poly ahead at 2-1.
Michigan tied it up again in the seventh inning with three hits before Woo was pulled out of the bullpen. Two Cal Poly fielding errors and two Michigan hits in the eighth inning allowed Michigan to take its first lead of the game at 4-2
Despite a threat of a late rally with two Cal Poly runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, the Mustangs failed to bring a runner home and dropped the series finale.
Cal Poly returns to play at Santa Clara on Tuesday, March 3 at 6 p.m.