FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal Poly hit three home runs, all with two outs, to account for all of its runs and evened its Big West Conference baseball series against No. 12 Cal State Fullerton at a game apiece with an 8-6 victory Saturday night at Goodwin Field.
Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger and freshman right fielder Nick Torres hit three-run home runs in the fifth inning and freshman outfielder Alex Michaels (pictured at right) snapped a 6-6 tie with a two-run pinch-hit shot down the right-field line for the Mustangs, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.
Cal Poly is 22-15 overall and 6-5 for a third-place tie with UC Santa Barbara in the Big West. Cal State Fullerton fell to 25-13 and 8-3, tied for first place with Long Beach State in the Big West.
After a scoreless three innings of play, Cal State Fullerton scored two unearned runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Ivory Thomas and a sacrifice fly by Anthony Hutting.
Cal Poly erupted for six runs in the top of the fifth on the three-run blasts by Haniger – his eighth of the year – and Torres, his third. Haniger, who hit his fourth three-run round-tripper of the year, now has a team-leading 40 RBI.
Cal State Fullerton bounced right back with four runs, all with two outs, in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Lorenzen doubled to drive in the first two and Thomas tripled to knock in two more.
In the Cal Poly eighth, after two strikeouts for the first two outs of the inning, sophomore catcher Chris Hoo doubled to left-center field and Michaels, pinch-hitting for Denver Chavez, hit his two-run home run off the foul pole in right field for the lead.
Michaels, who hit his first collegiate homer, is now 6-for-11 as a pinch-hitter and is hitting .393 for the season. Cal Poly as a team had six pinch hits all of last season.
Redshirt freshman right-hander Reed Reilly pitched four scoreless innings in relief for the win, retiring 12 of the 13 Titan batters he faced. Reilly (3-1), who gave up just a two-out triple to Hutting in the eighth inning, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
It was the third time this season that Reilly had pitched four or more innings in relief.
Mustang starter Kyle Anderson went five innings on the mound, allowing six runs (four earned) and eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
The loss went to Willie Kuhl, the second of three Cal State Fullerton pitchers in the game. Kuhl (2-3) gave up two runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Titan starter Kenny Mathews surrendered six runs and nine hits in five innings.
Cal Poly outhit Cal State Fullerton 16-9, led by Haniger and senior shortstop Mike Miller with three hits apiece. Armendariz, freshman first baseman Tommy Pluschkell and sophomore designated hitter Tim Wise each added two hits.
Lorenzen, Thomas and first baseman Carlos Lopez each had two hits for Cal State Fullerton.
Cal Poly has won seven of its last 17 games against the Titans.
Final game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock at Goodwin Field, with junior right-hander Kyle Brueggemann of Cal Poly to face Cal State Fullerton freshman right-hander Grahamm Wiest.