tom sanders

Cal Poly starting pitcher Gary Daley Jr. redeemed himself from a Friday night shilacking with six scoreless innings in an 8-2 Sunday win over University of the Pacific at Baggett Stadium.

Daley lasted just two innings in an 11-9 Cal Poly loss, a game that concluded on Saturday following a rain-delay. The Tigers exploded for nine runs, eight earned, on six hits and four walks against the junior right-hander.

“We don’t have a No. 3 starter, that’s the (first reason Daley started) and his low pitch total on Friday,” Lee said.

Daley threw just 61 pitches in Friday night’s game and with the normal Sunday starter, Evan Reed, out due to injury, Lee turned to Daley for a second chance at the Tigers. In Sunday’s game, Daley surrendered just five hits, four of which were singles, and walked none while striking out six in six innings of work – a stark contrast to his previous performance.

“I got in a groove early,” Daley said.

The success was a big boost to Daley’s confidence, Lee said.

“It was much needed. Six innings, no walks – that says it right there,” Lee said. “It’s about not beating yourself … minimizing free passes.”

Walks had hampered Daley in previous outings, averaging 3.8 per start prior to Sunday’s game. But six innings without a walk on Sunday translated to one of his best starts of the season.

As a team, Cal Poly pounded out 13 hits. Leading the way was Brent Walker, Josh Lansford and Grant Desme, each with two hits. Walker and Lansford led the team with two runs batted in apiece.

Pacific’s Ty’Relle Harris (3-1) pitched 5 1/3 innings for the loss. He relinquished nine hits and walked three, giving up four runs, all earned.

The Mustangs got on the scoreboard first with three runs in the fourth inning. Desme and Matt Cooper each singled to the left side with Desme advancing to third base. Shortstop Brent Morel scored Desme with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Harris then lost control, walking Jonathan Woodcox and hitting Jimmy Gardiner on a 1-2 count.

The bases loaded, Walker capitalized with a two-run single down the right field line to put the Mustangs ahead 3-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Lansford added to the Mustang lead with a triple to right field, scoring Jimmy Van Ostrand.

Rocky Roquet relieved Daley in the seventh inning. He started a bit shaky, allowing two unearned runs to score after he threw a passed ball and accounted for a throwing error while trying to catch a Pacific player at home plate on a fielders choice. However, the senior closer quickly regained his composure by pitching scoreless eighth and ninth innings for his sixth save of the season.

The Mustangs would add four insurance runs, two in the seventh inning and two in the eighth inning, to cap the scoring.

Cal Poly split a double-header on Saturday, the first game a continuation of Friday’s rain-delayed action. The Mustangs fell in the opening game 11-9 to the Tigers with Daley taking the loss.

Van Ostrand had his biggest performance of the series in the loss. He went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and one run scored.

In the second game, Cal Poly won 6-3 with Bud Norris earning the win. Norris pitched six innings and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks.

Casey Fien relieved the junior starter with three innings of scoreless work. Fien struck out two and allowed two hits for his first save of the season.

Lansford and Cooper each had two hits to lead the Mustangs offensively.

Cal Poly will take to the road for its next series at Cal State Northridge. The Matadors swept Cal Poly in a non-conference series one week ago. Norris is expected to start game one while Daley will take an extra day of rest and pitch on Saturday, Lee said. Sunday’s starter is still to be determined.

Fien, Kevin Waldron and DJ Mauldin have each started one game and could be slotted into the Sunday job. Mauldin started last weekend’s Sunday game against Cal State Northridge. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on four hits and four walks. Fien has been Cal Poly’s top middle reliever with 16 appearances and a 3.31 earned run average.

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