RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Joey Wagman struck out a career-high 11 batters while Chris Hoo and Mitch Haniger smashed three-run home runs as Cal Poly opened its three-game Big West Conference baseball series at UC Riverside with an 11-2 victory Friday night in the Riverside Sports Complex.
Wagman (pictured at right), who struck out 10 batters twice earlier this season, pitched eight innings against the Highlanders and allowed one run and six hits, issuing just one walk, to improve to 9-3 on the year.
With their 12th victory in the last 15 games, the Mustangs are 34-20 overall and moved into a second-place tie with Long Beach State, both 14-8 in Big West games. The 49ers fell to first-place Cal State Fullerton 4-0 as the Titans clinched at least a share of the Big West crown.
Cal Poly put together a pair of four-run rallies to win the game going away.
In the second, Alex Michaels tripled with one out and came home on a safety squeeze bunt for a single by David Armendariz. After Nick Torres singled, Hoo belted his three-run blast to left for a 4-0 Mustang advantage. It was Hoo's second homer of the year.
The Mustangs tallied single runs in the fifth -- an RBI single by Alex Michaels -- and seventh -- a sacrifice fly by Michaels -- innings before breaking the 6-1 game open with another four-run rally in the eighth.
A sacrifice fly by Tim Wise preceded Haniger's 13th home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field. Haniger picked up RBIs 59, 60 and 61 with his sixth three-run blast of the year.
Cal Poly added its final run in the ninth on back-to-back doubles by Nick Torres and Jordan Ellis.
Cal Poly amassed a 16-hit offensive attack, led by Haniger's three hits. Wise, Michaels, Jimmy Allen, Torres and Hoo all added two hits each.
UC Riverside's seven hits included two each by Eddie Young, Vince Gonzalez and Kyle Boudreau. Gonzalez and Boudreau knocked in the Highlander runs with RBI singles in the sixth and ninth innings respectively.
The loss went to senior right-hander Eddie Orozco (5-7) as he allowed six runs, all earned, and 11 hits in seven innings with two walks and six strikeouts. Orozco entered the game with the seventh-best ERA in the Big West at 2.46.
Second game of the series is set for Saturday night at 6, with senior southpaw Kyle Anderson (9-1, 3.63 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly against UC Riverside junior right-hander Trevor Frank (2-7, 3.87 ERA).