Graig Mantle

With their series against UC Davis already clinched 2-0, Cal Poly baseball players only had one thing to worry about in the final game Sunday: their mothers in the crowd.

The Mustangs swept their nonconference series with the Aggies, winning the final game 8-5 in front of 1,165 fans and many happy mothers at Baggett Stadium.

“It was a nice Mother’s Day gift,” said Cal Poly starting sophomore right-hander Thomas Eager, who pitched his second complete-game victory. “I’m glad they got to see it.”

The Mustangs won Friday’s game 10-7 and then clinched the series Saturday with a 10-9 victory. Saturday’s game lasted 4 hours, 43 minutes and ended in the 12th inning after a home run by junior right fielder Grant Desme.

“It wasn’t always the prettiest series at times,” said Cal Poly second baseman Pat Pezet, who had a booming two-run triple to center field Sunday. “We were fighting the whole time.”

Cal Poly improved to 27-23 overall as UC Davis, a future Big West Conference opponent, fell to 20-28. The Mustangs remained 8-7 in the Big West.

“We continued to have a good approach offensively all weekend long and played very well defensively,” Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said.

“We’re just getting as many wins as we can right now to increase our chances of getting a (regional) bid in the playoffs,” Pezet said. “We have to win from here on out to get a shot.”

Eager (9-3) took the win, striking out five batters and throwing 89 strikes on 141 pitches. Eager allowed 14 hits, 10 of which after the fifth inning.

When the seventh and eighth innings came and went, Eager appeared tired but Lee kept him on the mound.

“With our bullpen completed without Derrick Saito and Matt Leonard, we decided we were going to stick with Tom (Eager) through thick and thin,” Lee said.

The Aggies were trying to sneak a comeback throughout the sixth and seventh with a run in each, but three straight outs in the eighth from the Mustangs seemed to stop all hopes.

Although the Mustangs entered the ninth inning with a five-run lead, emotions were running high. With two outs on the board, the fans were on their feet begging for a strikeout.

Eager, however, couldn’t give it to them.

With the bases loaded, a powerful single to right center brought in two runs for the Aggies.

“I think that was my fault a little bit as I let my emotions get ahead of me,” Eager said. “I just need to learn to control my emotions and my excitement.”

Finally, Logan Schafer, who had six RBI and five runs of his own over the weekend, caught a fly ball in center field by Aggies designated hitter Kevin James to end the game.

Desme continued to increase his home run collection with two in the series and reached 15 home runs, bringing him within one homer of tying Cal Poly’s single-season record. Entering the week, he was also tied for 31st in the nation for home runs with 13.

Although Cal Poly is ranked first in the Big West in runs with 330, the team has a 6.70 ERA in its past 10 games.

“Yeah, it’s not good,” Lee said. “Two out of three of the aspects of the game we’re doing quite well; we’ve got offense and defense, but pitching isn’t where it needs to be to beat the better teams.”

Cal Poly also has a few injuries to deal with in the following weeks.

“There’s the possibility that we might be shutting down some arms for the rest of the season,” Lee said, calling sophomore right-hander Saito “probable” and freshman southpaw Leonard “doubtful.”

Desme, who had three doubles and four RBI over the weekend, also suffered an injury Sunday when he took a pitch to his right hand, which the umpire then called a foul.

“Desme is now one of the best in the country and losing him would be devastating,” Lee said.

The Mustangs, with only two series left in their regular season, will host Cal State Fullerton this week for a crucial three-game Big West series.

“We’re going to get healthy and play our best brand of baseball to play with them,” Lee said.

Cal State Fullerton, 31-19 overall and 8-7 in the Big West, will play Cal Poly after taking two of three from Wichita State, ranked No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.

“That’s a difficult accomplishment,” Lee said. “They’re always good and it looks like they’re playing their best baseball right now.”

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