Thanks to some hot bats and a couple of stellar performances out of the bullpen, the Cal Poly baseball team picked up its third-straight win Tuesday night, defeating Fresno State 10-7 at Baggett Stadium, bringing their record to 14-18 on the season.
Sophomore shortstop Kyle Smith led the Mustangs’ offensive charge, producing his first career four-hit game, with three singles and a double. Smith also stole two bases, scored twice and knocked in an RBI in the winning effort.
Smith, who attended Buchanan High in Fresno, was courted by the Bulldogs before electing to attend Cal Poly, but said that had nothing to do with his performance.
“You approach each game the same,” he said. “Last year it fueled the fire a little bit, but not this year.”
But he did add, “It is always nice to beat those guys, though – I can tell you that.”
Sophomore right-hander Mark DeVincenzi (1-0) earned his first collegiate win, allowing only one unearned run on two hits and a walk in his 3 2/3 innings of relief.
DeVincenzi struck out five, one shy of his career high, and threw only 55 pitches, 35 of which were strikes.
Sophomore right-hander D.J. Mauldin picked up the save for the Mustangs, his third on the season, by coming in to strike out the side in the eighth, as well as the ninth. His six consecutive putouts matched the career high he set in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Pacific.
“He was really on tonight and that was a big plus for the pitching staff,” Mustangs head coach Larry Lee said.
The Mustangs racked up 16 hits over the course of the game, including three singles and a double from Logan Schafer. The junior centerfielder knocked in three RBI despite battling a cold that has temporarily taken him off of defense and relegated him to designated hitter.
Junior third baseman Brent Morel and sophomore leftfielder Brent Morel also recorded multiple hits. Morel had three singles and an RBI while Yoder executed the role of leadoff hitter perfectly, reaching first base on all five of his plate appearances. He went 2 for 2 with two singles, three walks and an RBI.
Only two Mustangs went hitless against Fresno State’s pitching staff. Junior rightfielder Adam Melker walked, was robbed of a hit on a great diving catch by Bulldogs second baseman Erik Wetzel and came around to score after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.
Senior catcher Josh Thomas walked in the second inning and was then hit on the right wrist in the third. He stayed in the game long enough to score a run on a two-out single by senior second baseman Pat Pezet, but didn’t resume his position behind the plate when the Mustangs took the field in the fourth.
According to Lee, the ball hit him “pretty solidly” on the wrist, necessitating Thomas to undergo X-rays today.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Senior right-hander Brian Grening faced only six batters in his first two innings of work but then struggled in the third, allowing Fresno State to tie the affair by giving up five runs on six hits.
The Mustangs answered immediately in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff homer by sophomore first baseman Wes Dorrell to tie it up, and ended with a two-out rally that propelled the Mustangs to a four-run lead.
Fresno State rightfielder Steve Detwiler opened the fourth with a long home run to left-center.
It looked like the Bulldogs were poised to make another run after a one-out single by first baseman Danny Mundo, but then DeVincenzi came in to shut them down, and Cal Poly regained its four-run advantage on an RBI single by Smith in the bottom of the inning.
Fresno State added an unearned run in the seventh on a wild pick-off throw to first base from junior catcher Justin Hensley, but couldn’t muster any more against the Mustangs bullpen.
Freshman right-hander Jake Floethe (1-1) earned the loss, allowing six runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Cal Poly hosts Loyola Marymount at 3 p.m. today in what Lee says should be a “hard-fought ball game,” before traveling to a three-game series against Big West Conference rival UC Davis opening at 2:30 p.m. Friday.