Sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell smacked a three-run home run in an 8-0 shutout of No. 12 UCLA on Saturday.
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Los Angeles, Calif. — The bright lights of Los Angeles could not eclipse Cal Poly right-hander Slater Lee’s performance in Cal Poly’s 8-0 victory over UCLA. In front of a full Jackie Robinson Stadium crowd Saturday afternoon, Lee was the star.
The true freshman starter threw a complete-game shutout in the second game of the Mustangs’ three-game series against the No. 12 Bruins.
“You get a lot of places with your preparation,” Lee said. “This team’s here to prove people wrong, so I think we made a good statement today.”
Lee was efficient with his performance. It took him just 108 pitches to dip and dive his way through the Bruin offense.
“Mentally, he’s mature beyond his years and nothing really fazes him,” head coach Larry Lee said. “He’s able to go with a certain game plan and if the other team adjusts, he’s able to go with option B.”
Following a 5-2 loss in the opening game of the series, the coach emphasized getting all his hitters on the same page.
Junior right fielder Nick Torres and sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell got the message. The two coupled for a pair of three-run home runs.
“For us to be able to get this win today, it gives us all the momentum going into tomorrow,” Torres said. “We have a chance to make a statement and continue doing what we’re doing.”
The game was quiet before Torres got Cal Poly on the scoreboard in the top of the third.
To open the inning, sophomore Peter Van Gansen singled up the middle, senior catcher Chris Hoo walked and senior outfielder Tim Wise put down a sacrifice bunt to put men on second and third. Junior outfielder Jordan Ellis struck out, bringing Torres to the plate with two outs.
Torres took the first pitch of the at-bat from lefty Grant Watson and drove it over the left field wall to give the Mustangs an early lead.
Slater Lee came out and kept the momentum for the Mustangs, as he held a potent UCLA offense to one hit and no runs through the first four innings.
“For him to come out and perform the way he did today gives us so much breathing room at the plate, we know we don’t have to press, we can just go up to the plate, be calm, be ourselves and have no reason to press because we know that Slater Lee’s gonna go out and take care of it on the mound,” Torres said.
In the fifth inning, the Mustang bats rewarded Lee with another offensive outburst.
Lead-off hitter Wise singled up the middle and Ellis laid a push bunt down between the pitcher and first baseman to put two men on for Torres once again.
Torres cued one toward UCLA shortstop Trent Chatterton and forced him into an error to push a run across. UCLA manager John Savage pulled his starting pitcher and elected to bring freshman reliever Scott Burke into the game.
That was when Brian Mundell stepped in and answered Larry Lee’s message. The designated hitter welcomed Burke by sending a pummeling drive over the left field wall.
Senior third baseman Jimmy Allen followed by yanking a double into the right field corner and was sacrificed over to third. Left fielder Zack Zehner brought Allen home with a well-placed ground ball, and the rout was on from there.
The five runs scored in the fifth inning were a season high for the Mustangs. Larry Lee said he was impressed with the game-by-game adjustments his team made.
“I was disappointed last night, how we lost our discipline at the plate, and today we stuck to it and not all teams are able to do that, so it’s a step in the right direction,” Larry Lee said.
Entering Saturday’s game, UCLA’s pitching staff had only allowed eight runs all season. Last year, they allowed the fewest runs of any in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Mustangs look to close out the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.