SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Jordan Ellis and Tommy Pluschkell provided the offensive punch while Joey Wagman and Reed Reilly combined for nine strikeouts as No. 21 Cal Poly opened Big West Conference baseball play with a 5-4 victory over UC Davis on Thursday night in Baggett Stadium.
Ellis doubled, tripled, scored twice and knocked in a run while Pluschkell (pictured at right), who collected his first hit of the season Tuesday against Pepperdine, lifted his batting average 197 points to .308 with two singles and a double Thursday, also knocking in a run for the Mustangs.
Wagman (6-1) earned his 20th career victory, scattering four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings of work on the mound. He struck out six and walked one.
Reilly earned his seventh save with three scoreless, hitless innings in relief of Wagman. Reilly, who has four saves of three innings or longer this season, did not walk a batter and struck out three.
With the win, Cal Poly improved to 18-6 for the season and 1-0 in Big West games. UC Davis fell to 10-13 and 0-1. The Aggies lost seven straight series to the Mustangs before winning two of three games a year ago at Dobbins Stadium.
Cal Poly jumped to a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in both the second and third innings.
Pluschkell and David Armendariz drove in the second-inning runs with singles to right field while a double by Ellis and a sacrifice fly by Nick Torres in a 12-pitch at-bat extended the Mustangs' lead to 4-0 in the third frame.
UC Davis closed the gap with two runs in the fourth and, after Cal Poly added a run in the fifth on a triple by Ellis and Jimmy Allen's groundout to second base, two more tallies in the seventh.
Reilly relieved Wagman after the Aggies made the score 5-4 with nobody out in the seventh and secured three outs on a sacrifice bunt, a strikeout and a grounder to shortstop.
Reilly retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. Lone Aggie to reach base against Reilly came courtesy of a one-out infield error in the ninth inning but, with the potential game-tying run at second base, John Williams lined out to left and Austin Logan struck out to end the game.
Cal Poly outhit UC Davis 10-9. Top Aggie hitters were second baseman Steven Patterson with two singles and a double and shortstop Tino Lipson with a single and triple.
Torres extended his hitting streak to 18 games, fourth-longest in Cal Poly's 19-year Division I history, with a leadoff double in the second inning. Ryan Lee set the hitting streak record of 26 games in 2009.
The loss went to UC Davis right-hander Harry Stanwyck (3-3), who allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
Second game of the series will be played Friday night at 6 o'clock in Baggett Stadium with Cal Poly to start sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof (2-0, 1.41 ERA) on the mound against UC Davis sophomore right-hander Spencer Koopmans (0-3, 6.31 ERA).
Final game of the series will be played Saturday at 1 o'clock.