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Cal Poly (12-7) to Host Dartmouth (2-6) in Matinee Affair Wednesday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (12-7, 0-0 Big West), which dropped a weekend series for the first time this season when the Mustangs lost two of three games at Minnesota, opens an 11-game homestand Wednesday with a single non-conference game against Dartmouth (2-6, 0-0 Ivy).

First pitch for the weekday matinee affair inside Baggett Stadium is set for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio 1280 with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play. Audio and video streams as well as live stats will be available on the Internet at www.GoPoly.com.

The Mustangs swept a Big 12 opponent (Oklahoma State) in February, won a series against a Pac-12 foe (Washington) and won one of three games against a Big 10 opponent (Minnesota). Cal Poly also swept a four-game series at Loyola Marymount.

Cal Poly, ranked No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after a 7-1 start, returns 16 letter winners, including five position starters and five pitchers, off its 2011 squad which finished 27-26 overall and third in the Big West at 15-9. The Mustangs started the year 0-6 before winning 27 of their next 44 games.

The Mustangs won Saturday's series opener at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 4-3 as Mitch Haniger belted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit. Joey Wagman picked up his fourth win of the season, scattering 11 hits over six innings.

Cal Poly fell 4-1 on Sunday and 4-3 on a walk-off two-out single in the ninth inning Monday. The Mustangs were outhit in each of the three games in the series.

Dartmouth won two of five games against Sacramento State on the first leg of its swing through California. The Big Green lost the opener 11-3, bounced back with 12-4 and 6-1 victories and fell in the final two games of the series 8-2 and 0-1. Dartmouth concludes its Golden State trip with a three-game weekend series at UC Irvine.

Cal Poly's top hitter through 19 games is senior shortstop Mike Miller (pictured above) with a .349 average and he also leads in runs scored (23) and triples (3). Sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen is hitting .343 with four doubles and 11 RBI while freshman right fielder Nick Torres sports a .338 mark with eight doubles, a pair of home runs and 16 RBI. Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger has a .288 average and leads Cal Poly in home runs (5) and RBI (23).

Dartmouth, coached by Bob Whalen (23rd season (435-432-1), Maine '79), returned 18 lettermen, including six position starters and eight pitchers, off a team which went 30-12 a year ago and finished first in the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League. The Big Green was swept by Louisiana State in a three-game series to open the season March 2-4 in Baton Rouge.

Top Dartmouth hitters are outfielder David Turnbull with a .500 average, followed by third baseman Jeff Keller (.409), outfielder Jake Carlson (.333) and designated hitter Ennis Coble (.321). The pitching staff is paced by right-hander Thomas Olson (0-1, 1.93 ERA), southpaw Frank Adam (0-0, 3.38 ERA) and southpaw Michael Johnson (1-0, 3.86 ERA).

Junior southpaw Kyle Hunter (0-1, 6.75 ERA) is expected to start on the mound for Dartmouth against Cal Poly freshman right-hander Bryan Granger, making the first appearance of his collegiate career. Granger is a graduate of San Benito High School in Hollister.

Dartmouth is hitting .303 this season, has compiled a 6.40 staff ERA and has committed 11 errors in eight games for a .957 fielding percentage.
Dartmouth last visited Baggett Stadium in 2009, falling 14-9 to the Mustangs. The series is all even at three wins apiece, starting in 2001.

A year ago Cal Poly posted its sixth winning season in the last eight years, and a third-place finish in the highly competitive Big West Conference at 15-9. The Mustangs have finished in the upper half of the league standings eight times in the last 10 years. Cal Poly was 7-4 against top-25 teams in 2011 and finished 19-7 at home.

The Mustangs, who won just eight games away from Baggett Stadium in 2011, posted a 6-3 mark on a nine-game road trip which ended March 6 at Santa Clara and are 7-5 away from Baggett Stadium so far this season. Cal Poly was 5-3 against West Coast Conference schools in a 10-game stretch beginning and ending with losses to Santa Clara on Feb. 21 and March 6.

En route to their 7-1 start this season, the Mustangs hit .304 with a 2.38 staff ERA. Since then, Cal Poly has compiled a 5-6 record in the month of March with a .247 team batting average and a 4.28 staff ERA.

Following Wednesday's game, the Mustangs will host Tony Gwynn's San Diego State Aztecs for a four-game weekend series -- Friday at 6 p.m., a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1 p.m. finale Sunday.