Cal Poly Baseball won the first two matches, but dropped the final two in a four-game home series against UC Riverside on April 23-25 inside Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs (19-17, 9-11 Big West) were unable to capitalize on the first two games of the series in which they outscored Riverside (12-19, 10-14 Big West) 12-4. Cal Poly now sits seventh in the Big West Conference standings.
The Mustangs opened up the weekend series with a 4-2 victory over the Highlanders.
Redshirt freshman right-hander Drew Thorpe started the game on the mound for Cal Poly, tossing seven innings while allowing two runs and striking out seven.
UC Riverside jumped out to an early lead after the first batter of the game tripled to right center field and the second drove him home with a single, putting them up 1-0. Thorpe was able to escape the inning and limited the damage to just the one run.
The Highlanders scored the second run of the game as well, pushing one across thanks to a passed ball in the top of the third to give them a 2-0 lead.
After this, Thorpe settled in on the mound and shut them out for the rest of his outing.
The Mustangs finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run inning to take a 3-2 lead. Redshirt freshman outfielder Reagan Doss got the scoring started with a RBI single to drive home redshirt junior outfielder Nick DiCarlo. The next run came courtesy of a RBI single from redshirt freshman infielder Nick Marinconz to score Doss.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of redshirt freshman shortstop Brooks Lee scored the final run of the inning to cap off the highest scoring inning of the night.
After a scoreless fifth from both sides, Cal Poly tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth after freshman outfielder Sam Biller made his way home thanks to a throwing error by the Highlander catcher, extending the Mustang lead to 4-2.
Thorpe finished his outing in the seventh inning and redshirt freshman right-hander Kyle Scott came in and threw two scoreless innings to secure the save and the series opening win.
Saturday Game 1
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Mustangs’ seven-run rally in the seventh inning powered a 8-2 victory over the Highlanders.
Both the Mustangs and the Highlanders were off to a slow start offensively as the two teams combined for a total of two hits through three innings.
The Mustangs managed to score a run in the bottom of the fourth inning after Doss drove a RBI base hit into center field to bring home DiCarlo.
The Highlanders’ offense started to come alive in the top of the fifth inning after junior left- handed pitcher Andrew Alvarez (5-2) gave up three consecutive singles which tied the game at 1-1.
With the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, the Highlanders took the lead after a base hit up the middle brought the game to 2-1.
Cal Poly responded in bottom on the seventh inning by scoring seven unanswered runs which started with a double down the right field line from Doss. Then the Mustangs tied the game at 2-2 after a RBI double to deep left center field from Marinconz.
The Mustangs kept the pressure on Riverside in the seventh inning after senior catcher Myles Emmerson’s base hit loaded the bases with one out. Then in the following at-bat, junior designated hitter Matt Lopez drove a two-RBI base hit into left field.
Cal Poly broke the game open after the Mustangs picked up two unearned runs and a two-RBI single from Doss to give the Mustangs a 8-2 lead at the end of the seventh inning.
Despite allowing two earned runs, Alvarez earned his fifth win for the Mustangs with his strong performance where he earned career highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts, after pitching eight innings with 12 strikeouts.
Doss finished the game with a season-high three RBI while Lopez finished with two RBI. DiCarlo, Marinconz, and freshman first baseman Joe Yorke knocked in one RBI each for the game.
Saturday Game 2
Cal Poly dropped the second half of a doubleheader 6-9 against UC Riverside on Saturday.
After picking up a win earlier in the day, the Mustangs could not continue the win streak against the Highlanders. Lee and redshirt junior Tate Samuelson reached base four times each to lead the Cal Poly offense.
Left handed redshirt sophomore Travis Weston got the start for Cal Poly. Weston went 5.2 innings on the bump striking out eight batters, but giving up six earned runs, one walk, and 11 hits.
Freshman pitcher Chase Walter came in for relief and finished the rest of the game. Walter pitched 3.1 shutout innings, giving up only two hits and one walk in his appearance.
Weston took the loss on the day dropping his record to 3-5 on the year. UC Riverside’s Abbott Haffar got the win after his 4.1 innings of relief.
The Mustangs took an early 4-0 lead, putting up four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Doss singled to right field with the bases loaded to bring in the first run of the game. Two batters later, redshirt freshman Joe Yorke doubled to right field to clear the bases and bring in three more runs.
UC Riverside took the control of the game by scoring all nine of their runs between the third and sixth innings.
All three of the Highlander runs in the third inning were unearned as there were three errors in the inning, two by Lee and one by Samuelson.
Riverside stretched the lead to 6-4 after their half of the fifth inning on a RBI single by Joey Nicolai. In the bottom half of the inning, Doss hit a two-out double to left center field to score Samuelson. The next batter was DiCarlo, who brought Doss home on a RBI single to tie the game after five innings.
UC Riverside scored three more runs in the sixth inning, which was enough to put the game away. After Saturday’s action Cal Poly owned a 2-1 advantage in the series.
The Mustangs faced the Highlanders once more in Baggett Stadium on Sunday as they looked to secure a series win.
Cal Poly was unable to secure the series win on Sunday in a losing effort to UC Riverside by a score of 6-3.
Eric Marrujo got the start for the Highlanders and the victory moved him to 2-4 for the season, while Riverside handed the Mustangs’ starter Kaden Sheedy his first loss of the season.
The highlight for the Mustangs in Sunday’s game was Marinconz, whose three-hit performance coupled with his first home run of the season.
Riverside took the lead early in the first inning and never let it go. A three-run first inning that was aided by a Cal Poly fielding error and wild pitch gave UCR the momentum they needed to even up the series.
UCR would then widen their lead to 4-0 in the top of the third inning, when Sheedy was replaced by freshman pitcher Bryce Warrecker. Warrecker was a bright spot for Cal Poly’s pitching core on Sunday with five strikeouts over 2.2 innings in relief.
Cal Poly got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with the home run from Marinconz. Leading off the inning and on the very first pitch, the infielder blasted a shot to left field for his first home run of the 2021 campaign and the second of his collegiate career.
Cal Poly loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, when UCR brought in Jake Lachemann to close out the game. On Lachemann’s very first pitch, Marinconz flew out to left field for his only out of the day, ending the potential rally.
After UCR added another run in the seventh to make the game 5-1, Cal Poly brought themselves within two when a dropped catch and wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth made the score 5-3.
In the ninth, the Highlanders switched the momentum back in their favor when they rattled off three hits and gained another run. Lacheman closed out the Mustangs in the ninth in order to secure the save and the 6-3 win.
Cal Poly will look to bounce back and win their first series since beating San Jose State in early April when they go on the road to UC Santa Barbara from April 30 to May 2.