Cal Poly baseball swept the three-game series against CSU Fullerton from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15 at Goodwin Field.
The Mustangs (31-20, 17-7 Big West) are separating themselves as the second-place team in the Big West in hopes to receive a tournament bid. On the other hand, the Titans (19-30, 11-13 Big West) have lost eight of their last 10 games.
Sophomore shortstop Brooks Lee hit the second grand slam of his collegiate career to help Cal Poly secure a 13-4 win over the Titans in the series opener.
The Mustangs got the scoring started early, as reigning Big West Player of the Week Ryan Stafford drove home sophomore infielder Nick Marinconz with a single to jump out to a 1-0 lead.
Sophomore right-hander Drew Thorpe was on the bump for Cal Poly, and he came out on fire, striking out six batters in his first three scoreless innings.
In the third, the Mustangs added to their lead thanks to a pair of RBI doubles from sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke and Stafford, extending the advantage to 3-0.
The Titans found the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth after an error from the Cal Poly defense plated two runs and cut Fullerton’s deficit to 3-2.
After a scoreless fifth, the Mustangs broke it open in the sixth. A fielding error by Fullerton allowed Stafford to come home, and that was followed by sophomore outfielder Reagan Doss being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
With the bases still loaded, Lee blasted his 11th long ball of the season for a grand slam, putting Cal Poly up 9-2.
The Titans tacked on a run to bring the score to 9-3 in the bottom half, but the rest of the game was all Mustangs.
A pair of runs in both the eighth and ninth inning brought the final score to 13-4 in favor of Cal Poly.
Thorpe ended his night with 13 strikeouts en route to securing his eighth win of the season. Offensively, Stafford went 4-for-5 while York went 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
Yorke drove in five of Cal Poly’s six runs in a 6-2 win over the Titans on Saturday, securing the series victory.
Yorke has been on an offensive tear, tallying seven hits and six RBIs in the previous two games. The first baseman has been the catalyst for the offensive turnaround the Mustangs have undertaken during the week, scoring 29 runs in those two games.
Starting pitcher junior Travis Weston picked up his fifth win of the year, going seven innings and only giving up two runs on six hits.
After a leadoff base hit by Marinconz, Yorke’s double to right-center scored Marinconz in the first inning to jump out to another early lead.
The second saw Yorke draw a bases-loaded walk, pushing the lead to 2-0.
It was in the fourth that Yorke blew the game open with his two-run shot over the right-field fence, his third of the year, making the score 4-0.
Fullerton answered back in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI groundout from DH Brendan Bobo, but Doss got the run back for the Mustangs in the sixth with a groundout RBI of his own, scoring Stafford and making the lead 5-1.
Manager Larry Lee moved Stafford from the leadoff spot into the middle of the order six games ago. Since the move, Stafford has 16 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.640) with 11 RBIs.
Right-fielder Nate Nankil homered in the eighth for Fullerton, but Yorke answered right back with an RBI base hit to center field, concluding Yorke’s five-RBI game, the most in his career.
The Mustangs ended the game with 14 hits and senior closer Jason Franks notched his ninth save with three strikeouts over two innings of relief work.
Looking to complete the three-game sweep of the Titans, late-game heroics from senior designated hitter Matt Lopez secured a 2-1 win for Cal Poly.
In the top of the first, Marinconz led off the inning with a single but was stranded at third and unable to score.
Solid Sunday pitching from senior opener Dylan Villalobos kept the Fullerton offense at bay, as he allowed only one hit through the first two innings.
In the third, Lee smacked a one-out double to right-center. Yorke then grounded out to advance Lee to third. Stafford delivered the first run of the game with a two-out single, giving the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
Fullerton answered in the fourth, tacking on a run to tie the game at 1-1.
The two offenses slowed down until the bottom of the seventh when the Titans loaded the bases with just one out, but a foul out and a ground out kept Fullerton from scoring.
After a scoreless eighth, Lopez delivered the go-ahead run in the ninth on a leadoff home run to left field, giving Cal Poly a 2-1 lead with three outs to go.
Franks shut down the Fullerton lineup in the bottom half to secure the win. The reliever tossed two scoreless innings to earn his fourth win of the season.
With the three-game sweep and UC Santa Barbara playing in a non-conference series during the weekend, the Mustangs inched within four games of the Big West crown with six conference games remaining.
Cal Poly hits the road for a non-conference, mid-week matchup with Pepperdine on Tuesday, May 17 at 3 p.m. The Mustangs defeated the Waves 16-4 on Tuesday, May 10.