Jefferson P. Nolan
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Knowing it would need to win three consecutive games to claim the regional tournament, the Cal Poly baseball team came out swinging against Sacramento State on Sunday afternoon.
The Mustangs amassed seven hits in the 6-5 decision against the Hornets and after losing a game on Saturday night to Pepperdine following a miscue in the outfield. Cal Poly had a sense of urgency as the team took the field for its elimination game.
“As soon as the game was over last night, it was history for me,” Lee said. “But I know as a player, it has a tendency to linger. We talked about how things happen and that we have to put everything behind us.”
Junior reliever Bryan Granger was credited with the victory as he took over for freshman starting pitcher Justin Calomeni in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Granger did not pitch during the final weekend of the regular season when the Mustangs faced Cal State Northridge and eventually claimed the Big West Conference title. According to him, the extra rest was just what he needed to perform against the Hornets.
“It was beneficial to take time off and really focus on dialing in,” Granger said.
Cal Poly recorded a series of three 0ne-run innings as they slowly pulled away from Sacramento State. A solo home run off the bat of junior left fielder Zack Zehner early in the game sparked the bats for the Mustangs.
Both sophomore first baseman John Schuknecht and junior right fielder Nick Torres recorded a pair of hits and RBIs in the game.
Calomeni, threw 56 pitches, allowed four hits and gave up four runs before being substituted for Granger.
Granger allowed a hit in 2 2/3 innings pitched until junior reliever Reed Reilly took the bump in the seventh inning.
Reilly ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth when the Hornets cut the Mustangs’ lead to a single run, but the one run advantage proved to be enough for the Mustangs.
“We’re happy just to be playing,” Lee said. “We need to swing the bats. We need to try and make this an offensive regional …(Winning) three games is nothing out of the ordinary for this group.”