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March 12, 2011

Cal Poly Splits Doubleheader Against Loyola Marymount

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Freshman left fielder Jimmy Allen produced his first two collegiate hits and both were two-run doubles as Cal Poly earned a split of Saturday's non-conference baseball doubleheader against Loyola Marymount with a 7-5 victory in the nightcap.

Allen doubled home two runs in a four-run second-inning Mustang rally and his second two-RBI double in the sixth gave Cal Poly a 7-1 cushion.

Designated hitter Matt Koch belted a three-run home run as Loyola Marymount raced to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings and held on for a 7-6 victory over Cal Poly in the opener, snapping a five-game Mustang winning streak.

Cal Poly has a 2-1 advantage in the four-game series with the finale set for Sunday at 1 o'clock. Cal Poly is 6-7 for the season, winning six of its last seven games following an 0-6 start, while Loyola Marymount is 10-6 for the year.

Sophomore right-hander Joey Wagman (2-1) earned the win for Cal Poly in the nightcap with six solid innings of work on the mound, scattering five hits and allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out three Lions with no walks.

Loyola Marymount closed a six-run deficit with a run in the sixth, another in the eighth and two more in the ninth before junior closer Jeff Johnson was summoned from the bullpen to secure the final out in the ninth inning, striking out Jonathan Johnson with a runner on base.

In addition to Allen, first baseman J.J. Thompson, second baseman Denver Chavez (pictured above) and shortstop Mike Miller also had a pair of hits -- Miller driving in a pair of runs.

Loyola Marymount's nine-hit attack included two doubles by third baseman Alex Guthrie and a pair of singles by Johnson.

Martin Viramontes (2-1) was touched for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out three, for Loyola Marymount.

In the Mustang second, Allen knocked in the first two runs with his double down the left-field line. A triple by Miller made it 3-0 and Mitch Haniger's single to left field gave Wagman and the Mustangs a 4-0 advantage.

Miller's single down the left-field line scored another run in the fourth inning for a 5-1 Cal Poly lead and Allen's two-run double, again down the left-field line, completed the Mustang scoring in the fifth.

In the opener, Cal Poly bounced back from a 7-0 deficit with two runs in the fifth inning, one more in the sixth and pulled to within one in the bottom of the ninth on DJ Gentile's three-run home run, but saw its five-game winning streak come to an end.

Mustang junior southpaw Kyle Anderson (1-3) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in four innings, absorbing the loss. Freshman right-hander Chase Johnson pitched well in relief, giving up just two hits in five scoreless innings with four strikeouts.

Right-hander Alex Gillingham (2-2) went eight-plus innings for the win, scattering 11 hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 132 pitches. Jason Smigelski surrendered the home run to Gentile after getting the first two outs of the ninth and Ryan Hawthorne secured the final out for the save.

Cal Poly's top hitters were center fielder Bobby Crocker and Chavez, each with three hits. Both drove in a run, as did Haniger with a groundout. Gentile added a double to his round-tripper.

Loyola Marymount was led by catcher Colton Plaia and Guthrie, who both went 3-for-4. Koch drove in four runs with his home run and single.

Cal Poly is now 1-5 in one-run games this season.

In Sunday's series finale, Cal Poly will send senior right-hander Steven Fischback (1-0, 4.70 ERA) to the mound. Loyola Marymount's starter is expected to be junior southpaw John Lally (1-1, 2.84 ERA).

 Fischback earned his first victory in nearly three years last Sunday, scattering four hits over six innings, as Cal Poly completed its first three-game baseball series sweep since 2009 with a 7-1 victory over Valparaiso. Fischback (1-0), who missed the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons due to labrum surgery, struck out four and walked three.

Lally tossed eight innings and allowed just one run on three hits while striking out three to guide LMU to a 4-1 victory over Hawai'i in the final game of a four-game series last Sunday.