Baseball sweeps CSU Bakersfield to remain in second place in Big West standings

Cal Poly Baseball completed a three-game sweep against CSU Bakersfield from Friday, May 6 through Sunday, May 8 at Baggett Stadium.

The Mustangs (27-20, 14-7 Big West) traded against the Roadrunners (16-27, 9-12 Big West) to retain second place in the conference.

Friday

In the series opener, the Mustangs defeated Bakersfield 14-1 in a 21-hit attack.

After a scoreless top half, second shortstop Brooks Lee led away with a double, followed by a walk by second baseman Nick Marinconz. Sophomore first baseman Joe Yorke then hit an RBI double, which Lee scored, but Marinconz was thrown to the plate.

Junior left fielder Collin Villegas then hit a two-run home run that gave the Mustangs a 3-0 lead. Cal Poly scored another hit later in the inning for a four-run first frame.

Second ace Drew Thorpe followed with a one-two-three inning and recorded three strikeouts in the top of the second.

In the third, the Roadrunners scored, but Thorpe recorded two more strikeouts to end the inning.

The Mustangs hit runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead to 6-1 before heading into the sixth.

After another goalless frame from Thorpe, the Mustangs loaded the bases with no outs for Stafford. The newcomer hit a line drive single in the middle to score a pair. Senior Matt Lopez followed with an RBI single and senior third baseman Tate Samuelson counted a sacrifice fly to take the lead to 10-1.

Thorpe’s night ended in the seventh after hitting nine batters and allowing just one four-hit run in his six innings of work.

The Mustangs continued their scoring at the bottom of seventh when three runs were scored thanks to two doubles and two singles from the heart of the order.

At the end of the round of 16, Cal Poly capped their scoring with an RBI groundout. Yorke also scored his fifth hit of the night in the inning as the first baseman demonstrated his agility, base running skills and raw power at the plate, going 5-on-5 with two doubles and three runs scored.

“I obviously saw the ball pretty well tonight,” Yorke said. “I felt good on the plate – despite the fog coming up. Earlier this year I had two doubles at UNLV, but I’m pretty sure this is only the second time I’ve ever done it, so that’s pretty cool.”

The Mustangs finished the 14-1 win with their sixth consecutive goalless defensive frame in ninth place.

“We’re at that point of the year where we’re going to try to play with burning hair now and see how many wins we can come up with,” Yorke said.

Saturday

Cal Poly brought the momentum into the second game where they defeated the Roadrunners 6-2 to secure the series win.

After a scoreless first game, Bakersfield got on the board in the second from a solo home run and an RBI single gave them a 2-0 lead, their first lead of the series.

Both attacks went empty in the third, and Cal Poly began to build up on the defensive side in the upper part of the fourth swing.

Yorke made a backhand sliding catch at first base to get first out of the inning. After a double, the Mustangs ended the inning with a pop-up fly and a strikeout by redshirt junior Travis Weston.

At the end of the fourth, the Mustang offense blew up for five of their six runs on the night. After loading the bases with two outs, sophomore Reagan Doss walked to land freshman Ryan Stafford for the first Cal Poly heat of the game.

Then a wild pitch from Bakersfield senior allowed Matt Lopez to cruise home and tie the game. After a deliberate walk to Lee, Marinconz got on the clutch with a two-RBI single to give the Mustangs their first lead of the night.

Marinconz, who went 2-on-4 with three RBIs in the win, said he came into the game with a “simple mindset.”

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard and get my pitch,” Marinconz said.

To finish the goal in the inning, Yorke drove in leeward to extend Cal Poly’s lead to 5-2.

After the fifth, sixth and seventh innings were scoreless, the Mustangs continued on another run after a Marinconz sacrifice fly gave them a 6-2 lead.

Weston put on a great outing on the mound for Cal Poly, throwing seven innings, allowing just one deserved run and knocking out six to earn his fourth win of the year.

Sunday

In the third game of the weekend series, the Mustangs wrapped up victory with a 4-2 win over the Roadrunners.

After scoreless first innings from both teams, Cal Poly opened the scoring in the second. A leadoff single from Villegas allowed Stafford to hit his third home run of the season over the midfield wall and give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.

Shutdowns in the third, fourth and fifth innings by both sides turned the game into the sixth. In the top half, Bakersfield tied the game 2-2 after a two-run home run of their own.

At the end of the seventh, Doss caught a miss and Lee singled to put runners in the corners with an out. Yorke then delivered his eighth hit of the weekend to bring Doss home. Stafford singled two batters later to hit Lee, giving Cal Poly a 4-2 advantage.

The two sides remained stalemate for the remainder of the game and the Mustangs secured victory over the Roadrunners.

With three wins and UC Santa Barbara picking up two in their three-game set with UC Irvine, the Mustangs are now five games behind the Gauchos in Big West standings.

Cal Poly returns Tuesday, May 10 for a midweek duel with Pepperdine at Baggett Stadium.

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