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May 3, 2013

Wagman, Stewart Spark Cal Poly to 4-1 Win Over UC Riverside

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior right-hander Joey Wagman pitched his third complete game of the season and became the 14th Mustang to earn 10 or more wins in a season while senior catcher Elliot Stewart belted his second three-run home run in as many weeks as No. 24 Cal Poly rallied to defeat UC Riverside 4-1 in a Big West Conference baseball game Friday night.

Wagman (10-2) did not allow a walk, struck out seven and pitched a five-hitter, becoming the eighth Mustang to win 10 games in a season. Five more won 11 games and southpaw Garrett Olson earned a school-record 12 victories in 2005.

With the win, Cal Poly snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 29-14 on the season. The Mustangs are 9-7 in the Big West, tied for fourth place with Long Beach State. The 49ers lost 3-2 at first-place Cal State Fullerton on Friday night. UC Riverside fell to 18-23 and 7-9 as the Highlanders have lost nine of their last 10 games.

UC Riverside jumped to a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a two-out RBI double to left-center field by third baseman Joe Chavez.

Cal Poly waited until the seventh inning to score all of its runs.

Freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell smashed a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left field leading off the inning, his ninth home run of the season. He tied the school Division I record for home runs by a freshman. Matt Jensen hit nine as a freshman in 2009.

Junior left fielder David Armendariz followed with a single and, after a sacrifice bunt by freshman first baseman John Schuknecht, freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen blooped a single to right field, with Armendariz stopping at third.

Stewart (pictured at right) was summoned from the bench to pinch hit for junior catcher Chris Hoo. Cal Poly was 6-for-34 pinch-hitting this season (.176) before Stewart hit the first pitch from Dylan Stuart over the left-field wall for a three-run blast, shattering the 1-1 tie.

Stewart does not have a single in his last five games, instead contributing two doubles, a triple and two home runs, knocking in seven runs. His game-winning blast Friday night was his fifth homer of the year.

UC Riverside left two runners on base in the eighth inning and Wagman retired the side in order in the ninth for the win, throwing 117 pitches. His other complete games this season were against Notre Dame and Hawai'i.

Van Gansen, Armendariz, sophomore center fielder Jordan Ellis and sophomore right fielder Nick Torres all had two of Cal Poly's 10 hits.

Ellis stretched his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single and also singled in the fourth while Armendariz now has an eight-game hitting streak after a second-inning double and the seventh-inning single. Ellis is 19-for-46 (.413) during his streak while Armendariz is 11-for-29 (.379) during his run.

Mundell and Stewart had the other two Mustang hits and both were home runs.

UC Riverside's five hits included two singles by center fielder Devyn Bolasky and the double by Chavez.

Stuart (3-6) gave up four runs and 10 hits in eight innings with no walks and two strikeouts in absorbing the loss for the Highlanders.

Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 in Baggett Stadium with Cal Poly sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof (4-3, 2.38 ERA) to face UC Riverside junior left-hander Ben Doucette (2-4, 4.19 ERA).

With its 29th win, Cal Poly has clinched its 11th winning campaign since 2000 and its eighth in Larry Lee's 11 seasons as head coach.

The series finale Sunday will start at 1 o'clock.