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After nearly sweeping Long Beach State in a three-game series last weekend, the Cal Poly baseball team began another Big West home series on Friday night against Cal State Northridge. And like its series with the Dirtbags, Cal Poly took the first game on Friday, beating the Matadors 6-2.
Cal Poly junior starting pitcher Casey Bloomquist proved once again why he is the Mustangs’ Friday night starter, inducing ground balls and keeping hitters off balance enough to hold the Matadors to only two runs and six hits in his 8 2/3 innings of work. With the victory, Bloomquist improved his record to 5-2 on the year.
“I used a lot of off-speed pitches today, and I had the sinker when I needed it,” Bloomquist said. “I feel like we have a lot of trust in each other now. We know that almost every game we will pitch all right, hit pretty good and have solid defense.”
A third-inning triple to left-center from junior second baseman Mark Mathias led off the scoring for Cal Poly. The offensive fireworks were a surprise to no one, as the second-team All-American selection from a year ago is currently leading the team in batting average (.361) and on-base percentage (.455).
“(Matador starting pitcher Calvin Copping) threw me three sliders,” Mathias said of his triple. “The first two were outside, but he left the last one up and I just took advantage of it”
In the fourth inning, a single off the bat of junior first baseman Ryan Drobny was mishandled by Cal State Northridge’s left fielder, which led to two more Mustang runs. Drobny would sneak in to steal home after a wild pitch from Copping. Senior third baseman Tommy Pluschkell helped add two more insurance runs with an RBI single in the sixth and a sacrifice squeeze in the eighth.
Bloomquist nearly had the fourth complete game of his collegiate career but was pulled with two outs in the ninth inning. With two runners on, senior reliever Danny Zandona recorded the last out of the game for the Mustangs. The win gives Cal Poly (20-22, 8-5 Big West Conference) sole possession of fourth place in the Big West standings.
Game two against the Matadors (26-18, 5-11) is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“The difference between where we are now and where we were at in the beginning of the season is night and day,” head coach Larry Lee said.