Senior Marco Comuzzo won both his singles and doubles matches in a 4-3 win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. | Mustang News File Photo

Stephan Teodosescu

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Despite starting off its 2014 season 0-7, the Cal Poly men’s tennis team bounced back to win nine of its remaining 14 matches, including the regular season finale over rival UC Santa Barbara 4-3 on Saturday at Mustang Courts.

With the victory, the Mustangs (9-12, 4-1 Big West) clinched the No. 2 seed and a first-round tournament bye. Cal Poly will advance directly to the semifinals of the Big West Conference Championship Tournament on Friday. Hawaii secured the top seed with its win over UC Irvine.

“I tell the guys to play your best tennis in your last shot of the year, and I think we’re in a little bit better position to do that than we were (on Friday),” head coach Nick Carless said.

The Mustangs took the doubles point with an 8-6 victory from senior duo Marco Comuzzo and Matt Thomson, combined with a win by freshman Ben Donovan and senior Jurgen De Jager by the same score.

UC Santa Barbara’s Zlad Sultan defeated Donovan in singles, but Thomson came back to seal the match for the Mustangs with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) victory on the No. 4 court.

Comuzzo, Thomson and junior Naveen Beasley won their singles tilts as well.

De Jager was pulled from his match because the Mustangs had already clinched the win. Carless said he wanted to save the senior’s surgically repaired knee.

“He’s a competitor, he wanted to keep playing, but I told him, ‘Look, I can’t really risk you doing something to your knee and not have you for the conference tournament,’” Carless said.

De Jager — playing his final match at home — finished with a career .723 singles winning percentage in duals, a figure that ranks second at Cal Poly over the past 20 years.

“It’s bittersweet; I didn’t want it to finish,” De Jager said. “It’s actually really sad and surreal. I love these courts, especially with the new scoreboards, and this is definitely the best support we’ve ever had at a game.”

Cal Poly may face UC Santa Barbara in the conference tournament depending on who wins the first-round matchup between the Gauchos (8-13, 3-1) and UC Riverside (2-21, 0-5) on Thursday.

Four of the last five matches between the Mustangs and Gauchos have come down to a 4-3 margin.

Jefferson P. Nolan contributed to this article.

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