The Cal Poly baseball team beat Santa Clara 6-2 on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak.
The victory at Baggett Stadium improved the Mustangs’ overall record to 26-17, but their Big West Conference record remains 7-5, as Santa Clara is a nonconference opponent.
Santa Clara’s junior left fielder Tyler Meditz opened the game with a run in the top of the second inning, scoring off a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Braden Frankfort.
The Broncos scoring early on in the game, combined with the fact that Cal Poly lost to Santa Clara 10-1 during the last time the two teams met — and that the Mustangs’ were on a four-game losing streak prior to Tuesday night’s victory — made for a nervous crowd in Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs felt the pressure and answered with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Junior center fielder Brett Barbier and senior right fielder John Schuknecht scored on a double by junior third baseman Michael Sanderson, then Sanderson came home on a single by junior left fielder Kevin Morgan to give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead.
After a quiet fourth inning, freshman catcher Nick Meyer committed a throwing error in the top of the fifth inning that allowed Santa Clara’s senior first baseman Ryan Budnick to advance to second base. Budnick eventually scored, cutting the Mustangs’ lead to 3-2.
But freshman starting pitcher Bobby Ay held on for a scoreless sixth inning before giving way to Justin Bruihl and Spencer Howard, two other freshmen. The two relievers combined to strike out five Santa Clara batters and scatter two hits.
Behind the stellar pitching, the Mustangs took control of the game. Two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed them to push their lead to 5-2, with Morgan and freshman first baseman Cooper Moore both scoring on a double down the left field line by freshman designated hitter Dylan Doherty. Doherty also drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning, scoring Schuknecht.
Junior pitcher Justin Calomeni took control of the mound in the ninth inning, closing off the game without allowing a baserunner to earn Ay his first collegiate win.
Cal Poly returns to Big West Conference play this weekend with a three-game away series against Cal State Northridge (25-16, 4-11 Big West), one of four conference series’ left for the Mustangs in the regular season.