Long Beach State scored seven times in the first two innings and coasted to a 13-4 victory in a key Big West baseball game on Sunday.
With the win, the 49ers (25-19, 9-2 Big West) kept a slight lead over Cal State Fullerton (34-12, 11-4) in the race for Big West supremacy. Meanwhile, the Mustangs’ (25-22, 8-7) hopes for an at-large berth to the NCAA playoffs continue to dwindle.
“It definately puts a big dent in our (playoff) chances,” Mustang coach Larry Lee said. “We knew this was a series we needed to win.”
Realistically, Cal Poly needs to win the Big West title to reach the playoffs by earning the conference automatic berth – a daunting task with only six conference games remaining and the Mustangs behind Long Beach State by five in the loss column.
Cal State Fullerton kept its hopes of winning a third consecutive Big West title alive by rallying for three runs in the top of the ninth to beat UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.
The 49ers exploded for 10 runs, all earned, on Cal Poly starting pitcher Casey Fien (4-2). The senior right-hander lasted just four innings. Fien had a 3.01 ERA going into Sunday’s game, but the 49ers’ hot bats were too much.
Long Beach State had 15 hits on Sunday and outscored the Mustangs 20-4 in the final two games of the series.
Donnie Hume (3-3) pitched 5.2 innings for Long Beach State, surrendering two runs on eight hits and two walks.
Scott Bradley hit a three-run homer for Long Beach State and scored three runs. Shane Peterson also homered and was 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
Josh Lansford extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying Grant Desme for the longest this season. Lansford was 2-for-3 and scored a run.
Cal Poly plays a three-game series at UC Davis this weekend with game one slated to start at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The 49ers will play a non-conference game against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday as well as a continuation of an April 15 game against Cal State Northridge on Wednesday with a home stand against UC Santa Barbara scheduled for the weekend.
Long Beach State 7, Cal Poly 0
Gary Daley Jr.’s (5-7) struggles on the mound continued as the junior right-hander lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up six runs, five earned, on nine hits, two walks and two hit batters. Daley’s ERA increased to 6.34 on the season.
Godfrey went 2-for-4 for the 49ers with four RBIs while Andrew Carpenter (7-2) pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing six hits and one walk to go with eight strikeouts.
Cal Poly 8, Long Beach State 2
Bud Norris (8-5) walked six, but kept the 49ers at bay on the scoreboard as the junior right-hander held the 49ers to two runs. Norris gave up four hits and fanned two in six innings of work. Casey Fien and DJ Mauldin combined for the final three scoreless innings.
Cal Poly got to Long Beach State ace Jared Hughes (7-2) in the third inning as Adam Buschini singled in a run and Josh Lansford tripled to right field to bring home two more.
Hughes would allow seven runs, five earned, in six innings of work.
Jimmy Gardiner led the Mustangs offensively with a 3-for-5, two runs scored and one RBI performance while Lansford chipped in with three RBIs. Every starter except Corey Barthel had a hit for Cal Poly.