(Photo courtesy of Melissa Lundie)
Mustang Daily Staff Report
A day after giving up a four-run lead to UCLA, the Cal Poly baseball team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon by San Diego in a 8-5 loss. The Mustangs were done in by a four-run sixth inning that saw two runners score on bases-loaded walks from relief pitcher Michael Holback, giving the Toreros a five-run lead that proved to be insurmountable.
Cal Poly defeated San Diego in the opening game of the Los Angeles Regional on Friday after using a six-run sixth inning in a 9-2 victory.
The Toreros scored the first run of the game after the nation’s home run leader, Kris Bryant, singled against the Mustangs’ starting pitcher, true freshman Casey Bloomquist, in his first at-bat. Bryant, who is expected to be picked in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft later this month, was brought around to score on a single by first baseman Connor Joe. Cal Poly responded with a run of its own in the top of the second inning, a single by Elliot Stewart that brought Jimmy Allen home.
Allen was the Mustangs hottest bat throughout their three postseason games, as he went 8 for 13 with five RBIs. On Sunday, he was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
Holback took the loss for Cal Poly after allowing runners to score in the fifth and sixth innings. The Toreros’ run in the fifth, scored on a passed ball by Stewart, put San Diego ahead 4-3.
The Mustangs rallied from down 8-3 in the seventh inning by loading the bases for Allen with two outs. He singled through the right side to score Brian Mundell and Peter Van Gansen, but David Armendariz couldn’t keep the rally alive as he flew out to right field.
The top of the Cal Poly lineup went down quietly in the ninth inning, which ended the most successful season in the program’s Division I history. For the first time, the team won 40 games and its first-ever postseason game. It was the second time Cal Poly advanced to the postseason, the only other time being in 2009 when the Mustangs lost back-to-back games in Tempe, Ariz.
Following Sunday’s loss, the team will lose seniors Stewart, Joey Wagman, Kyle Brueggemann and the Big West’s hit-leader, Denver Chavez. Wagman earned a Cal Poly single-season record 13th victory against San Diego on Friday.