The No. 8 Cal Poly baseball team clinched a three-game series win with a victory against Northern Illinois on Wednesday night at Baggett Stadium.
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Under the lights of Baggett Stadium on Wednesday night, the Cal Poly baseball team looked to build on its hot start in 2014 and protect a season-high No. 8 national ranking against visiting Northern Illinois in the second game of the series.
The Mustangs did just that, as they jumped all over the visitors early on and beat the Huskies 10-1.
Leadoff hitter and first baseman Tim Wise got the Mustangs off to a hot start after he hit a hard liner to right field on the first pitch he saw. Northern Illinois’ Brandon Mallder misplayed the sinking line drive and Wise took advantage, scoring on the three-base error.
“I was just hoping he wouldn’t catch it, and then I saw it got by him so I was just running as hard as I could,” Wise said.
Cal Poly would score again in the first inning after sophomore shortstop Mark Mathias’ single brought home two more Mustangs.
Cal Poly junior pitcher Danny Zandona impressed in his first start of the season. Zandona, who is primarily a reliever for the Mustangs, was able to work quickly and efficiently against a thin Northern Illinois lineup. He allowed a single run over six innings of work and collected six strikeouts along the way.
“It was my first start since freshman year, so I was a little nervous coming in,” Zandona said. “Then I got out there on the mound and I just did what I normally do. It’s no different than relieving.”
Cal Poly blew the game open in the bottom of the 3rd inning, capitalizing on erratic pitching from Northern Illinois. The Mustangs went on to score five runs in the inning on only two hits, one of them an RBI drag bunt by center fielder Jordan Ellis.
“Pretty good thing to have in the arsenal,” Ellis said. “Do it when I need to. Why not move the runner over and get a hit out of it?”
Ellis also showed off his range in the outfield when he made an over-the-shoulder catch on a fly ball that looked like guaranteed extra bases for the Huskies’ Chris Divarco in the 5th inning.
“I like those ones a lot,” Ellis said. “I like having a little extra challenge.”
Danny Zandona (1-0) picked up the win, and both Wise and Ellis had three singles apiece. Wise, along with Mathias, would gather two RBIs and sophomore first baseman John Schucknecht hit his first home run of the season.
The Mustangs (13-3) look to complete the sweep of Northern Illinois (1-14-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m.