Cal Poly Baseball won their weekend series against USC, taking two out of the three games on Feb. 26-28 at Dedeaux Field.
This was the second series of the season for both the Mustangs (3-4) and the Trojans (3-3).
The Mustangs came out on top in the first game of the series in a pitcher’s duel, winning 2-1 over the Trojans.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Drew Thorpe (1-0) was on the bump for Cal Poly, while USC started redshirt junior Isaac Esqueda (0-0).
Thorpe dominated the Trojan offense early, allowing zero runs and zero hits in the first four innings of play. During this streak, Thorpe struck out six total batters. Despite Thorpe’s great pitching early, the Mustangs found themselves tied going into the fifth, as the offense could only gather two hits over the first four frames.
After Thorpe got through another scoreless inning in the bottom half of the fifth, USC tied the game up at 1-1 after a bases loaded walk brought home a run.
The sixth marked the end of Thorpe’s outing, ending the night with six innings pitched and one earned run, including two hits and five walks. He also ended with eight total strikeouts.
After the Mustangs were retired in the top of the seventh, redshirt junior pitcher Andrew Alvarez came into the game in relief and held the Trojans scoreless in the inning.
Alvarez shut down USC in the eighth and ninth innings, securing the 2-1 victory in the first of the three-game series.
The Cal Poly offense came alive in game two of the series, defeating the Trojans by a score of 9-4.
For the Mustangs, redshirt sophomore pitcher Travis Weston (0-1) took the mound while USC sent redshirt sophomore Chandler Champlain (1-0) to the mound.
Cal Poly got the scoring started early, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first after Samuelson drove home redshirt junior outfielder Cole Cabrera with a sacrifice fly to left field.
After Weston held the Trojans scoreless in the first, USC drove two runs home in the bottom of the second, giving them a 2-1 lead. However, Cal Poly quickly answered by tying the game up at two courtesy of a RBI double from redshirt junior outfielder Nick DiCarlo. A solo home run in the bottom half of the third put the Trojans back on top, 3-2.
In the fourth, the Mustangs went down in order while USC drove another run across to extend their lead to 4-2. In the inning, freshman pitcher Bryce Warrecker was called upon in relief and Weston left after 3.1 innings pitched, allowing three runs.
Cal Poly scored one run in both the fifth and sixth innings thanks to RBIs from Lopez and redshirt freshman shortstop Brooks Lee. Warrecker held the Trojans scoreless in these innings as well, leaving the score tied up at 4-4 at the end of the sixth.
After the Mustangs were held scoreless in the seventh, redshirt freshman pitcher Derek True shut down USC in his one inning of work, which was enough to get him his first win of the season.
Heading into the eighth still tied at four, the Cal Poly offense broke out for three runs in the eight and two in the ninth. In the eighth, the Mustangs got their runs from a bases-loaded walk by redshirt sophomore infielder Taison Corio, a fielder’s choice RBI from Lopez and a squeeze bunt from DiCarlo.
In the ninth, RBI singles from Samuelson and Lee brought the Mustang lead to 9-4, which proved to be the final score. Redshirt freshman pitcher Kyle Scott allowed just one hit in the final two innings of play, securing the win.
Cal Poly’s late-game comeback efforts were not enough to complete the sweep against the Trojans, dropping the final game of the series 7-6.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Bryan Woo (0-2) started the game for the Mustangs, while USC started redshirt sophomore pitcher Alex Cornwell (1-0).
The Trojans jumped on Woo and the Mustangs early, scoring six runs in the first two innings to take an early 6-0 lead. Woo lasted just 1.2 innings in his start and was charged with five runs on seven hits.
Despite the early offensive surge from USC, the Cal Poly bullpen limited the Trojan offense to just one run on five hits for the remainder of the game. Freshman pitcher Chase Walter, redshirt junior pitcher Dylan Villalobos and Alvarez contributed to the effort in relief.
On the offensive side, the Mustangs drove in their first run of the game in the fourth after a solo home run from Samuelson, his first of the young season.
In the fifth, Lee hit a RBI single cutting into the USC lead and making the score 6-2.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the Mustangs added two more runs thanks to a RBI single from Emmerson, who also scored later in the inning as a result of an error from the Trojan defense. USC answered with one run of their own in the seventh, bringing the score to 7-4.
The Cal Poly comeback effort continued in the eighth, where a single to right field from Yorke pulled the Mustangs to within two. The Mustangs trailed 7-5 going into their final at bats in the top of the ninth.
With one out in the inning, Lee launched a home run over the right field wall to bring Cal Poly within one run. However, Lee’s first home run of the season was the final run for the Mustangs, giving USC the 7-6 victory.
Cal Poly will return home to Baggett Stadium on Friday, Mar. 5 for a three-game series against Utah Valley.