SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior catcher Chris Hoo's hard grounder past second base knocked in the winning run in the 13th inning as No. 21 Cal Poly completed its sweep of a three-game Big West Conference baseball series against UC Davis with a 6-5 victory Saturday afternoon in Baggett Stadium.
Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs loaded the bases with nobody out on a single by sophomore right fielder Nick Torres, a throwing error by pitcher Max Cordy on freshman John Schuknecht's sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk issued to junior center fielder David Armendariz.
After a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Hoo hit the first pitch from Cordy just past Aggie second baseman Steven Patterson, allowing Torres to bring home the winning run from third in a game that tied the Baggett Stadium record for most innings played.
Cal Poly improved to 20-6 for the season and 3-0 in Big West games while UC Davis fell to 10-15 and 0-3.
"This is a great way to start conference play against a real offensive UC Davis team," said Lee. "We pitched extremely well overall, played solid defense and swung the bats well.
"We're starting to play well in all facets of the game," Lee added.
UC Davis rallied from a 5-2 deficit with two runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Nick Lynch and Cameron Olson produced RBI singles in the eighth and Paul Politi's infield single tied the game in the ninth.
After opening up a 5-2 lead, Cal Poly did not score in the seventh through 12th innings, leaving six runners stranded in scoring position, before Hoo ended the 4-hour, 25-minute marathon with his 13th-inning bases-loaded single.
Sophomore right-hander Reed Reilly, who pitched three innings for his seventh save Thursday night, worked 5 2/3 innings for the victory Saturday, improving to 2-1. He allowed one run and six hits with three walks and three strikeouts, throwing 95 pitches.
Mustang starter Bryan Granger tossed five innings, giving up two runs and five hits, and was in line for his fifth win of the year before the Aggies scored the tying run off Reilly in the ninth.
Junior reliever Michael Holback entered the game in the seventh with two Aggie runners on base, nobody out and a 1-0 count and wriggled out of the jam with a double-play grounder and strikeout.
The loss went to Cordy (4-3), who also worked 5 2/3 innings on the mound and surrendered just one run and three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He tossed 91 pitches.
Cal Poly outhit UC Davis 15-13, led by senior second baseman Denver Chavez and junior third baseman Jimmy Allen, both with three hits. Allen knocked in two runs with a safety squeeze bunt for a single in the fourth inning and an RBI single in the sixth.
Torres, freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen and freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell each added two hits for the Mustangs -- Torres and Van Gansen collecting RBIs. Torres had his 18-game hitting streak snapped Friday and was 0-for-8 with two sacrifice flies prior to his sixth-inning single Saturday.
Though the two teams combined for 28 hits, there were just three extra-base hits in the game, all doubles.
Patterson, Lynch, Olson, Tino Lipson and Seth Batty all had a pair of hits for UC Davis, which has lost eight of nine series to Cal Poly since moving to Division I in 2005.
For the series, sophomore left fielder Jordan Ellis was 6-for-11 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI while Chavez went 7-for-15 with two doubles. Mundell was 6-for-13 while Allen added five hits, driving in four runs, and sophomore first baseman Tommy Pluschkell contributed four hits and a pair of RBI.
Cal Poly hit .342 in the series as a team and committed just one error in three games. The staff ERA was 2.90 with 22 strikeouts in 31 innings.
The Mustangs turned four double plays Saturday, the most in a game in five years, and notched seven twin-killings in the series.
The two teams combined to use nine pitchers and they threw a total of 442 pitches. UC Davis committed five errors in the game.
Cal Poly earned its second walk-off win of the season. Mundell's home run in the 10th inning lifted the Mustangs to a 6-5 win over San Jose State on March 12 in Baggett Stadium.
Cal Poly is tied for first place in the Big West with UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. The Highlanders swept UC Irvine while the Titans went 3-0 against Pacific, including a 25-0 shutout Saturday.
Cal Poly visits UC Santa Barbara for a three-game Big West series Friday through Sunday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. First pitch Friday will be at 3 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. start Saturday and a 1 p.m. beginning Sunday.
Photo courtesy of Ray Ambler