SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Sophomore right fielder Nick Torres produced his first four-hit game as a Mustang, including a two-run home run, freshman Brian Mundell also hit a two-run homer and senior right-hander Joey Wagman and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout as No. 20 Cal Poly blanked UC Santa Barbara 7-0 in the opening game of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night before 1,270 in Baggett Stadium.
Wagman (5-1) struck out 11, one shy of his career high set last week against Notre Dame, and walked five in seven-plus innings of work on the mound, dropping his ERA to 2.70 and lifting Cal Poly to 16-4 on the year. Sophomore right-hander Reed Reilly and junior righty Chase Johnson each tossed a scoreless inning in relief and the trio combined to strike out 14 Gaucho batters.
Last week, Notre Dame struck out 35 times in three games against Cal Poly – 12 in the opener, 12 in the second game and 11 in the series finale.
UC Santa Barbara, shut out for the first time this season, fell to 11-9.
Wagman, who pitched a complete-game five-hitter in a 5-1 win over UC Santa Barbara a year ago in Baggett Stadium, has allowed one run and seven hits in 18 career innings against the Gauchos. On Friday, he had a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings.
Cal Poly scored twice in the second, third and seventh frames and added an insurance run in the eighth.
Mundell, the reigning Big West Conference Field Player of the Week, belted his two-run shot over the center-field wall 405 feet away from home plate, his sixth of the year, in the second inning. Torres (pictured above) followed with his fifth round-tripper of the season, a blast over the left-field wall in the third frame, and added two singles and a double. He scored three times and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
A sacrifice fly by junior catcher Chris Hoo and an RBI single by junior first baseman Tim Wise accounted for Cal Poly's two runs in the seventh and a Gaucho throwing error allowed the Mustangs to tally their final run in the eighth.
Senior second baseman Denver Chavez and sophomore left fielder Jordan Ellis each added two hits as Cal Poly outhit UC Santa Barbara 11-2. Chavez is now hitting a team-leading .372 while Torres elevated his average 32 points to .353. Junior third baseman Jimmy Allen's eight-game hitting streak came to an end.
UC Santa Barbara's most serious scoring threats came in the seventh and eighth innings.
The Gauchos loaded the bases in the seventh on their only two hits of the game – singles by left fielder Woody Woodward and center fielder Cameron Newell – and a hit batsman, but after a flyout for the first out of the inning, catcher Jackson Morrow's nubber in front of the plate was turned into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
Wagman issued a pair of walks to open the eighth, but Reilly relieved Wagman and secured a pair of infield flies and a strikeout to get out of that jam.
The loss went to Gaucho starter Austin Pettibone (3-2) as he allowed six runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday at 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara with sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof (2-0, 1.08 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly, facing UC Santa Barbara freshman southpaw Justin Jacome (1-1, 4.13 ERA).
The series finale will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock in Baggett Stadium.