Cal Poly baseball put up a number of statistical feats during their 16-4 win over Pepperdine on Tuesday, May 10 inside Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (28-20, 14-7 Big West) rode a nine-run first inning and sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke tallied five hits in the non-conference showdown against the Waves (20-23, 8-13 West Coast).
Head coach Larry Lee was seen individually congratulating Yorke after the game. When asked, coach Lee had nothing but praise for the first baseman.
“He is a competitor, has a smile on his face every day and works extremely hard at the yard,” coach Lee said.
Yorke made Division-I program history with two five-hit games in five days to go along with his current 14-game hit streak.
“Growing up in his high school career, Boise State and before, [Joe] never had a five-hit game and then in five days, he has had two five-hit games,” coach Lee said.
Sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee added, “Kirby Puckett is the only other guy to 5-for-5 in the same season twice.”
The first inning of the midweek matchup was an eventful one. Pepperdine got on with a lead-off double that barely fell out of center fielder Reagan Doss’s glove on the dive. Then, freshman starting pitcher Steven Brooks got out of the jam by striking out John Peck, the top hitter for the Waves.
In the bottom frame, Evan Luikart took the mound for the Waves with a 1.93 ERA.
That ERA got heightened quickly. There were nine runs scored in the first, including two home runs. Brooks Lee got the party started with a solo blast to right, his tenth of the season.
“I have been working on hitting [a] slider [inside] for a while now,” Brooks Lee said. “I did the same thing last year and it feels good to have [hitting that pitch] in my back pocket.”
Junior catcher Collin Villegas followed with an RBI double, freshman catcher Ryan Stafford tallied an RBI single and graduate John Lagattuta smacked a towering three-run homer off the batter’s eye in center field to extend the lead to 6-0.
Luikart was then pulled with two outs in the first, but the Mustangs weren’t done yet. Brooks Lee doubled for his second hit of the inning and Yorke drove in two more with an RBI single, his second hit of the frame as well, capping off the inning with Cal Poly up 9-0.
Junior reliever Zach Button made an earlier appearance than usual after Brooks was pulled early after 1 ⅔ innings pitched.
Pepperdine got on the board in the second after a pair of RBI extra-base hits scored two runs, cutting into the Mustang lead at 9-2.
After a scoreless inning, Yorke drove in Brooks Lee with his second double and third hit of the night, putting Cal Poly up 10-2.
Both teams were shut out in the fourth inning, and Pepperdine covered a bit more ground with a two-run home run to center field to make the score 10-4. After this, the Mustang defense cleaned it up and didn’t allow a run for the rest of the night.
In the fifth, Cal Poly continued to rake. After Yorke recorded his fourth hit of the night, Stafford drove him and Villegas home with a two-RBI triple to left-center field. A Lagattuta RBI single and a run-scoring wild pitch closed the inning with the Mustangs up 14-4.
After the game, Yorke highlighted his team’s performance around him.
“John had three hits and a homer, Brooks had multiple hits, Stafford had multiple hits,” Yorke said. “A lot of guys were feeling really good about themselves.”
The bottom of the sixth featured a bases-loaded hit by pitch by graduate Brett Borgogno to drive in another run. After sophomore righty Kaden Sheedy got out of the seventh scoreless, the Mustangs added another run on an RBI fielder’s choice, capping the scoring at 16-4. In the seventh, Yorke recorded his fifth hit of the night.
“[Yorke] means as much to this team as anybody,” coach Lee said.
Sophomore righthander Sebastian Kirchner, who was in the press box keeping score for the majority of the game, entered to pitch the ninth inning, shutting the door on the Waves.
The 16-run performance is the highest-scoring game for the Mustangs in 2022 with just 10 games to go.
Cal Poly will take on Cal State Fullerton for a three-game conference weekend series on the road from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15.
“[The goal is] to win as many games as possible and finish as high as we can in our conference,” coach Lee said.