Cal Poly baseball beat Santa Clara 15-6 in an offensive onslaught on Tuesday, Mar. 29 inside Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (14-10, 5-1 Big West) rallied for eight runs in the sixth inning off of 13 at-bats en route to the win over the Broncos (15-9, 4-2 West Coast).
Freshman lefty Noah Larkin got his first win in the midweek start, pitching five innings and only allowing one run on three hits. Offensively, the Mustang lineup saw some changes compared to early in the season.
Redshirt senior Mark Armstrong got the call as the designated hitter and batted fifth in the lineup while freshman Ryan Stafford, who is usually behind the dish, played out in left. Senior third baseman Tate Samuelson also batted lower in the lineup than usual at the seven spot.
After hitless first and second innings, Cal Poly showed some defensive prowess in the third. Sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke showed off his speed in the field after fielding a grounder with a backhand and retreating with the ball back to the bag to record the out. Sophomore second baseman Nick Marinconz also made a diving stop to end the inning and keep it scoreless.
The Mustangs finally broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Yorke walked, and junior catcher Collin Villegas single through the short-third hole.
Then, Armstrong doubled on a ball that reached that wall and brought in two. Armstrong ended the game with four RBIs and accounted for six total runs.
“[Coach Lee] putting me in the lineup really gave me some confidence,” Armstrong said. “I am grateful that I had a chance to help the team win.”
To keep the rally going, Marinconz singled up the middle and scored Armstrong. Samuelson then pulled an 0-2 pitch down the third-base line for an RBI double to extend the lead to 4-0.
When discussing the rallies throughout the game and the big fourth inning, Yorke said, “no inning is over until that third out is made, we can do any sort of damage with two outs.”
Santa Clara got on the board for the first time in the fifth with a pinch-hit RBI triple to make the score 4-1, but Larkin closed out the inning without any more damage.
In the bottom of the frame, the Mustangs answered to extend their lead.
Stafford led off with a hit that ate up the shortstop, earning him a single. Sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee then followed with a single to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, and Stafford’s hustle got him from first to third on the play. Yorke hit Stafford home after reaching base on an error.
After the error, Santa Clara then walked in two runs to give the Mustangs a 7-1 lead.
After getting out of that inning, the Broncos inched back at the deficit scoring two more in the top of the sixth, shrinking the lead to four.
However, the Mustangs kept rolling in the sixth. Stafford walked and back-to-back singles by Lee and Yorke set up Villegas, who hit a 2 RBI double to extend the lead to 9-3.
Armstrong continued the one-out rally with an RBI single. Marinconz was then hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Samuelson walked to bring in another run and graduate outfielder John Lagattuta came through with a 2 RBI double.
Stafford and Lee both hit RBI singles in their second at-bats of the inning to cap off the rally up 15-3.
“This team has really good energy and really good vibes in the dugout,” Yorke said.
Eight runs in a single inning are the most by Cal Poly this season, while the team record is 13 runs in one inning, which was achieved last year.
Santa Clara scored three more runs between the seventh and eighth inning, but it was not nearly enough.
The Mustangs will play four more out-of-conference games in three days as they look to continue their hot streak. They are 9-3 in their last 12 games played.
Cal Poly will take on Dixie State from Friday, Apr. 1 through Sunday, Apr. 3 inside Baggett Stadium. The first game of the series is set for 6 p.m on Friday.