Cal Poly (7-9) welcomed Harvard (6-5) to Baggett Stadium Friday, Mar. 11 through Sunday, Mar. 13 for a four-game series. The Mustangs won games one and two, while the Crimson snagged games three and four to split the series.
In the series opener, the Mustangs piggybacked sophomore starting pitcher Drew Thorpe to a 5-0 victory. Thorpe (2-0) delivered his first career complete game for Cal Poly, striking out 11 with no walks to earn the victory.
Thorpe did not allow a Harvard baserunner through the first three innings, with his first being a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth. However, a strikeout and groundout kept the Crimson at bay.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mustangs broke through on the offensive side. Graduate outfielder John Lagattuta, sophomore outfielder Reagan Doss and graduate infielder Brett Borgogno all walked to load the bases with two outs. A dropped flyball off the bat of freshman catcher Ryan Stafford and a double from sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee gave Cal Poly a 3-0 lead.
Thorpe cruised, giving up just one hit over the next three innings and holding firm on the Mustang lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, a bases-loaded walk from Stafford and a sacrifice fly from Lee gave Cal Poly a couple of insurance runs, now leading 5-0.
Harvard was unable to capitalize on a leadoff double to start the ninth, ending the game in favor of the Mustangs, 5-0.
“I’m just working with the coaches and trusting them, trying to execute the plan as we go each week,” Thorpe said after his impressive outing.
Saturday Game One
Cal Poly kicked off Saturday’s doubleheader with a dominant 10-1 win over Harvard.
Redshirt junior lefty Travis Weston was on the bump for game one, and he recorded five strikeouts in seven innings to secure his first win of the season.
In the top of the first, Brooks Lee hit a solo shot to left field to put the Mustangs up 1-0 after the first.
After this early strike, both teams went scoreless in the second and third innings.
In the fourth inning, Cal Poly exploded offensively. After a hit and two walks, Borgogno hit a grand slam to blow the game open at 5-0.
However, the inning was not over. Stafford tallied an RBI single and Brooks Lee drove in Doss for his second RBI of the game to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.
Doss, who scored seven runs in the four-game series credits his success to his change of approach.
“I changed my approach this weekend,” Doss said. “The coaches sat us all down and talked about being more patient as a team and creating opportunities for guys on base. I am trying to do my job as an eight or nine-hole hitter by creating opportunities for our lead off and Brooks [Lee].”
After two more scoreless innings from Weston, Lee hit home Weston yet again with an RBI double, which extended the Cal Poly lead to 8-0.
Harvard scored their sole run of the game with a solo shot in the seventh, which led to junior righthander Zach Button coming in for relief to start the eighth inning.
Doss gave the Mustangs more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run home run that extended the lead to 10-1.
Button finished the game on the mound, with two strikeouts and one hit allowed over two innings of work.
Saturday Game Two
After winning game one of the doubleheader, the Mustangs looked to sweep the day and win the series in game two. However, the Crimson were able to hold off Cal Poly, winning 4-3 to split the Saturday games.
Harvard wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, pushing two across in the top of the first to grab a quick 2-0 lead.
Both squads traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the third. Borgogno reached on a fielder’s choice and Stafford singled to put runners on first and second. Sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke then singled to left field, cutting the Harvard lead to 2-1.
The Crimson answered in the fifth and sixth, scoring a run in each inning to extend their lead to 4-1.
Lagattuta led off the seventh with his first home run of the season. Later in the inning, a Yorke sacrifice fly scored Doss, chipping away at the Harvard lead, which was now at 4-3.
Cal Poly couldn’t get anything going in the eighth or ninth, dropping game three of the series by the final score of 4-3.
Sophomore starting pitcher Kaden Sheedy (1-2) took the loss, going only 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five.
With a chance to take the series win, Cal Poly lost 9-4 in the final game of the series against Harvard.
Harvard started off hot, scoring three runs off of four hits and two errors in the first two innings of play with freshman right-hander Steven Brooks on the bump for Cal Poly.
To lead off the third, Doss singled on a drive to left field. After Borgogno struck out, Stafford recorded an infield single. With two runners on, Lee hit a shot to right-center that reached the wall for an RBI double that easily scored Doss and Stafford, cutting the Harvard lead to 3-2.
Down one in the fourth, the Mustangs let two runners get on with singles. Then, a Mustang error allowed Harvard to bring home another run and extend their lead to 4-2.
Brooks was pulled from the immediately after, ending his day with one strikeout and four runs allowed (two earned) in 3.2 innings of work.
Errors continued to kill the Mustangs in the fifth, as an error on a pickoff attempt put two runners in scoring positions. The very next batter smacked an RBI double to make the score 6-2.
“To succeed at this game you gotta play to win, you can’t be cautious and you can’t play timid,” Head Coach Larry Lee said about the errors. “So, we are trying to find the players [to fulfill that].”
Right-handed sophomore Jake Buxton then came in for Tomlinson after the defensive blunders.
After another scoreless inning from the Cal Poly offense, Harvard was back to their scoring ways in the sixth. Harvard loaded the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch to start the inning. After sophomore righthander Derek True came into pitch, a passed ball and a double scored three runners for Harvard to extend their lead to 9-2.
Redshirt freshman outfielder Matthias Haas answered the three-run inning with a two-run home run well over the wall in left-center to bring the score to 9-4.
Neither team got a run across for the rest of the game as Harvard was able to tie the weekend series at 2-2 with a 9-4 win.
“I think you’re only as good as your starting pitching,” Larry Lee said about the weekend. “We don’t quite have the caliber of starting pitching in a three or four-game series and it shows everywhere.”