Credit: Mia-Isobel Craig | Mustang News, 2023

Winners of five of its last seven games, Cal Poly Baseball continued its late-season hot stretch with an 11-6 win against Fresno State on Tuesday, May 16 at Baggett Stadium.

“We’re really coming together as a group,” sophomore left fielder Ryan Stafford said. “We’re learning what it is to be a team, how to win ball games, how to work as a unit.”

With the win, the Mustangs (19-31, 9-15 Big West) completed a season sweep of the Bulldogs (27-25, 16-14 Mountain West) in the three-game midweek series.

Stafford, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, got the Mustangs on the board in the first inning with an RBI groundout that brought home redshirt sophomore third baseman Ryan Fenn

After a scoreless second, the Cal Poly offense exploded in the third.

Junior outfielder Jake Steels sparked a five-run third frame with a single that led to a Bulldogs error. Stafford, senior catcher Collin Villegas and junior infielder Aaron Casillas each picked up RBIs to contribute to the showing that led to a 6-0 lead after the third inning. 

The Mustangs added one more in the fourth inning but the Bulldogs began to answer, scoring runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

However, the Cal Poly offense tacked on a run of its own in the fifth and a three-run sixth inning put the game out of reach.

Stafford, Fenn, Steels, freshman designated hitter Tate Shimao and junior first baseman Joe Yorke all tallied multi-hit performances in the victory.

Sophomore Noah Larkin was credited with the win after allowing two runs in five innings. 

Although the Mustangs have made a late-season resurgence, they are still in the bottom half of the Big West standings

“We feel like a letdown,” Stafford said. “We’ve had a terrible year and didn’t perform how we expected to.”

Despite this feeling, Stafford believes the team is now playing with nothing to lose.

“We’re just trying to play for each other and have some fun while we still have our team together for these last couple weeks,” Stafford said. 

The Mustangs will now turn their attention to the Blue-Green Rivalry series at UC Santa Barbara that begins on Friday, May 19 at 5 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.