All the lights were on Kris Bryant.
San Diego’s third baseman entered Friday’s game leading the nation in home runs (31), walks (63), slugging percentage (.860) and runs (78), while ranking third on MLB.com’s top 100 draft picks list.
But Cal Poly (40-17) revealed a slugger of its own, as the Mustangs defeated San Diego (35-24) 9-2, thanks to four RBIs from designated hitter Brian Mundell.
“Every time (Mundell) is at bat, I think he’s going hit a home run,” starting pitcher Joey Wagman said. “He just has that presence in the box. We know something good is going to happen. He did that a bunch today.”
Mundell got things started for Cal Poly in the first inning when he drove a pitch over the 395-foot center-field wall to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
“Being able to get on top first was really important for us,” Mundell said. “It was pretty cool to set the momentum in our favor for the rest of the game.”
On the hill, Wagman tossed eight innings, allowed one earned run and set the Cal Poly school record with 13 wins on the season.
He kept Bryant at bay all day, allowing the corner infielder to reach base only once, a walk in the third inning, in four at bats.
“He had it all going,” Bryant said. “You don’t see many right handers with a change up. You’ve got to tip your hat.”
It remained a pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning, when Cal Poly exploded for a six-run inning off San Diego’s southpaw PJ Conlon, who was undefeated entering Friday.
“They’re a tough team to pitch to,” Conlon said. “They’re a good team. They got timely hits. It came together for them.”
After left fielder David Armendariz reached on a fielder’s choice, catcher Elliot Stewart sent him to third base with a hit-and-run.
John Schuknecht walked to load the bases for freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen, who sparked the RBI parade.
Van Gansen walked, Denver Chavez was hit by a pitch, and Mundell added two more RBIs, giving Cal Poly a 9-2 lead.
“Occasionally, we have big innings, but not like today,” head coach Larry Lee said. “The majority of our games are tight ballgames. Today was uncharacteristic of a Cal Poly baseball game this year. “
Friday’s victory keeps the Mustangs in the winner’s bracket of the 2013 NCAA Los Angeles Regional and marks Cal Poly’s first postseason win at the NCAA Division I level.
“We were calm and we were ready from the very first pitch,” Lee said. “It was great to come out and play well. Tomorrow is obviously a different ballgame.“
Cal Poly will face UCLA or San Diego State on Saturday evening at Jackie Robinson Stadium, with sophomore starting pitcher Matt Imhof taking the hill for the Mustangs at 6 p.m.
A victory then would give Cal Poly a chance to take home the regional title on Sunday, along with a bid to a Super Regional.
“You work so hard just to get this opportunity to play postseason,” Lee said. “You want to take advantage of it.”