Cal Poly Baseball split a four-game away series against Long Beach State on April 9-11 at Blair Field.
The Mustangs (16-12, 6-6 Big West) were outscored 15-13 overall in the series by the Dirtbags (8-8, 8-8 Big West), but used an overall strong showing from all four starting pitchers to earn a series split.
Cal Poly was shutout 7-0 in the first game of the weekend series against Long Beach.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Drew Thorpe (3-3) took the loss, but tossed 12 strikeouts in seven innings of work as he got the nod for the start. Thorpe was one strikeout shy of his career high while allowing three runs, only one of them earned, on seven hits and one walk.
The first two innings were scoreless with Thorpe striking out five of the first six batters he faced, including striking out the side in the second.
Long Beach State’s Jesse Lopez led off the third inning and reached first base on a fielding error by redshirt freshman shortstop Brooks Lee. Lopez scored on an RBI double by Santino Rivera two batters later. Later in the inning a RBI single would bring in Rivera to tally the second run of the inning for the Dirtbags, both runs officially scored as unearned. Long Beach left runners on second and third after a groundout to Thorpe ended the inning.
In the bottom half of the fifth the Dirtbags led off with a single into right field. The next batter grounded out to third, but it was enough to advance the runner to second. Two more consecutive singles would be enough to bring the runner home to extend the Long Beach lead to 3-0.
After six innings of no-hit baseball for Long Beach, the Mustangs would break through with their first hit of the game in the top of the seventh on a double down the left field line by Lee. This came after redshirt senior catcher Myles Emmerson was hit by a pitch. With runners now on second and third, redshirt junior and designated hitter Matt Lopez drew a walk to load the bases. A groundout to second would end the inning for the Mustangs, leaving three runners on.
Thorpe continued his strong performance with two more strikeouts in the seventh, which was his last inning of work on the night.
Long Beach State blew the game wide open in the eighth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded Jonathan Long hit a double which drove in all three base runners. Rivera put an exclamation mark on the game with a RBI single to bring in Long. The Mustangs couldn’t get any momentum in the ninth and fell by a final score of 7-0.
Cal Poly got another chance to bounce back with a doubleheader on Saturday at Blair Field.
Saturday Game 1
The Mustang offense bounced back in game one of the Saturday doubleheader, taking down Long Beach by a score of 7-5.
Redshirt junior pitcher Andrew Alvarez started on the bump for Cal Poly and turned in a fantastic outing, tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing just two hits. Alvarez collected his fourth win on the season, moving his overall record to 4-2.
The starting pitchers on each side dominated the game early, holding the offenses to zero runs in the first three innings of play.
The Mustangs were the first team to break the scoring drought in the top of the fourth inning as a double down the left field line by junior third baseman Tate Samuelson drove home Lopez, putting Cal Poly ahead 1-0.
That first run got the offense going for the Mustangs, as they scored four runs in the fifth and added on two more in the sixth. RBIs from Emmerson Lee and freshman outfielder Sam Biller broke the game open for Cal Poly in the fourth. Biller tallied his second RBI of the game in the sixth to go along with junior outfielder Cole Cabrera’s RBI double to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.
No team crossed the plate again until the bottom of the ninth, when the Dirtbag offense erupted for five runs in a late comeback effort.
However, redshirt freshman pitcher Kyle Scott came in and got the final out to secure the 7-5 victory.
Saturday Game 2
The second game of the Saturday doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel resulting in a win for Long Beach over the Mustangs, 2-1.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Travis Weston got the ball for Cal Poly and, despite being credited with the loss, delivered a great outing. Weston, who is now 3-3 on the season, threw 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out six.
The Mustang offense was only able to muster four hits on the day compared to the seven hits by the Dirtbags.
Long Beach recorded the first run of the game in the bottom of the third by way of a fielder’s choice, giving them a 1-0 lead.
After three scoreless innings from both offenses, the Dirtbags added on another run courtesy of a solo shot in the seventh to extend their lead to 2-0.
Lee and Lopez began the comeback efforts in the top of the ninth with back-to-back doubles to leadoff the inning and bring the score to 2-1. However, the rest of the Cal Poly offense was unable to drive in the tying run and the game ended with a Mustang stranded on third base.
Cal Poly got a chance to even up the series 2-2 with the final game on Sunday.
The Mustangs scored the first run of the game when Cabrera crossed home on a wild pitch. Cal Poly extended its lead to 2-0 in the third inning after Emmerson doubled in a run. Samuelson was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.
The Dirtbags scored their lone run of the game in the third inning when Chase Luttrell hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
Cal Poly let several scoring opportunities slip away after stranding two baserunners in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
However, the Mustangs scored two more insurance runs in the eighth inning when freshman shortstop Brooks Lee hit a RBI sacrifice fly and Cabrera scored on another wild pitch.
Woo earned the win (2-2) after coming in relief for Warrecker who allowed one run and four hits through the first three innings.
Woo was lights out as he pitched 5.2 shutout innings and struck out a career-high eight batters, only allowing three hits in the process.
Woo had to leave the game with two outs in the ninth inning with a possible arm injury. Freshman pitcher Kyle Scott threw one pitch which was a line-out to Samuelson to end the game.
Cal Poly had 10 total hits which included two each off the bats of Cabrera, Samuelson and Lee.
The Mustangs will play a four-game series against Big West opponent UC Irvine from April 16-18 inside Baggett Stadium.