SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger's three-run home run highlighted an 11-run fifth-inning rally as Cal Poly erased a 5-3 deficit and beat UC Santa Barbara 15-5 in the second game of a three-game Big West Conference baseball series Saturday afternoon before 1,247 in Baggett Stadium.
Haniger's 12th home run of the season and fifth three-run blast gave the Mustangs a 10-5 advantage and freshman outfielder Alex Michaels added a pinch-hit three-run triple into the right-field corner in Cal Poly's biggest inning of the season. Tim Wise contributed a two-run single to stretch his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 28.
With the win, Cal Poly clinched the series -- the Mustangs won Friday's opener 5-1 -- and has won eight of 13 weekend series this season. Cal Poly has won 10 of its last 13 games to move to 32-20, the first time the Mustangs have been 12 games above the .500 mark this year.
Cal Poly also is 12-8 in the Big West, a half-game ahead of UC Irvine (12-9), which is playing out of conference this weekend. UC Santa Barbara has lost nine of its last 12 games, falling to 24-26 overall and 10-13 in Big West games.
Cal Poly, 21-7 at home this season, is now 15-2 in games in which it scores in the first inning and 16-1 in games played on Saturdays.
Senior southpaw Kyle Anderson (9-1) benefitted from the big inning, picking up his ninth win though he allowed five runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work on the mound. He did not allow a walk and struck out three.
Sophomore right-hander Michael Holback picked up his first save, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Anderson. Holback did not allow a hit or a walk and struck out one. He retired the first seven batters he faced and 10 of 11 as the lone Gaucho to reach base during Holback's stint on the mound was the result of an error.
Cal Poly scored twice in the first inning. For the second straight game, senior shortstop Mike Miller led off with a double into the left-field corner. After Haniger drew the first of his three walks, sophomore left fielder David Armendariz singled down the right-field line for two RBI.
UC Santa Barbara quickly answered with five runs in the top of the second inning -- the big blow a two-run double by left fielder Lance Roenicke.
Cal Poly got one run back in the fourth on a Gaucho throwing error before erupting for 11 runs in the fifth to turn the game back in its favor, sending 14 batters to the plate. The rally was four runs short of the Mustangs' Division I record for runs in an inning.
Although Cal Poly won, the Mustangs were outhit 13-9 by the Gauchos.
Michaels, who hit a double and a triple in the fifth inning, was the lone Mustang to garner more than one hit in the game, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBI. Miller and sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen added doubles while Haniger (pictured above) homered and now leads the team and the Big West with 12 home runs and 57 RBI.
Center fielder Brett Vertigan, who had a five-hit game earlier this season, earned his second four-hit game Saturday, going 4-for-5 with a double, three singles, one run scored and one RBI. Roenicke, third baseman Marc Venning and first baseman Greg Mahle each added two hits for the Gauchos.
The loss went to Jared Wilson (0-1), the second of five Gaucho pitchers used in the game. Wilson did not get an out in relief of starter Andrew Vasquez in the fifth inning, facing three batters and giving up a hit and two walks. All three batters scored, including the go-ahead run.
Vasquez, who entered the game with a Big West-leading 1.73 ERA, allowed five runs (four earned) and three hits in 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and seven walks.
The five UCSB pitchers in the game combined for 11 walks.
Final game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock in Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly will send junior right-hander Kyle Brueggemann (4-4, 5.40 ERA) to the mound against Gaucho senior left-hander Zak Edgington (2-4, 3.26 ERA).
Senior Day ceremonies begin at 12:40 p.m. honoring Cal Poly's three seniors -- Anderson, Miller and catcher Jordan Hadlock -- prior to their last home game as Mustangs.