SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior second baseman Denver Chavez went 5-for-5 at the plate while sophomore right-hander Bryan Granger pitched one-hit ball over six innings as No. 17 Cal Poly salvaged a win in its three-game Big West Conference baseball series at UC Santa Barbara with a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Chavez (pictured at right) doubled twice, singled three times, scored twice and knocked in a run for his first five-hit game as a Mustang and lifting his batting average for the season over the .400 mark at .407. He has collected seven hits in each of Cal Poly's last three weekend series, going 7-for-13 this weekend.
With the win, Cal Poly improved to 21-8 on the year and 4-2 in Big West games, tied for second place with Cal State Northridge. UC Santa Barbara, which won the series with 4-2 and 13-2 victories Friday and Saturday, fell to 16-14 and 3-3.
Cal Poly jumped to a 6-0 lead and held on for the win, snapping a two-game losing streak and improving to 4-8 in its last 12 games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
After the first single by Chavez in the first inning, Brian Mundell lined out to right field for a sacrifrice fly and a 1-0 Mustang lead.
Cal Poly took advantage of a pair of Gaucho errors in the third frame for three unearned runs. Chavez and sophomore right fielder Nick Torres singled to drive in runs and Mundell tallied another on a grounder to third base.
A sacrifice fly by freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen and a safety squeeze bunt for a single by junior catcher Chris Hoo netted two more Mustang runs in the fourth and a 6-0 cushion.
UC Santa Barbara, held scoreless in the first six innings by Granger, broke through for two runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth frames and had the tying runner at second base with two outs before sophomore right-hander Reed Reilly closed it out by inducing leadoff batter Cameron Newell to take a called third strike.
Cal Poly scored a run in the eighth to make it 7-2 before the Gauchos staged their last-inning rallies. Chavez led off with a double and, three batters later, junior first baseman Jimmy Allen, who had struck out four times in the game, singled to center field to tally the run.
Granger allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. It was his longest stint on the mound since the second weekend of the season.
Reilly tossed the final 2 2/3 innings and gave up four runs and seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Reilly had given up just four earned runs all season until Sunday.
The loss went to Robby Nesovic (0-1), who gave up six runs — just two of them earned – and five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Five other Gaucho pitchers were used in the game.
Chavez was the lone Mustang with multiple hits. Van Gansen added a double.
UC Santa Barbara's 11 hits included two each by Woody Woodward, Brandon Trinkwon and Dalton Kelly. The Gauchos produced double-digit hits in all three games of the series – 12 on Friday, 16 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday.
With the win, Cal Poly avoided being swept in a series for the first time since 2011 and also prevented what would have been its first three-game losing streak of the season.
The Mustangs play a single game Tuesday at CSU Bakersfield, starting at 6 p.m. The Roadrunners improved to 21-11 overall and 6-3 in the Western Athletic Conference with a 10-inning 6-5 win at Texas-Arlington on Sunday.
Cal Poly then returns home for its next seven games, starting with a three-game Big West series against Hawaii on Friday through Sunday in Baggett Stadium.