SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Sophomore right fielder Nick Torres and junior third baseman Jimmy Allen both had two hits and knocked in a run as Cal Poly defeated UC Riverside 3-1 in a Big West Conference baseball game Saturday night before 1,379 in Baggett Stadium.
Torres singled to give Cal Poly a 1-0 lead in the third inning and Allen's single in the seventh frame broke a 1-1 tie. The Mustangs added an insurance run in the eighth on a UC Riverside throwing error.
With the win, Cal Poly clinches the three-game series -- the Mustangs won Friday's opener 4-1 -- and improved to 30-14 overall and 10-7 in Big West play, alone in fourth place. UC Riverside, which has lost 10 of its last 11 games, fell to 18-24 and 7-10 for seventh place.
Mustang sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof allowed one run and six hits in five innings, but after giving up a walk and two singles for a run in the top of the sixth, Taylor Chris, another sophomore left-hander, was summoned from the bullpen and struck out the side.
Chris (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory as he pitched two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Reed Reilly picked up his 12th save by pitching two scoreless frames as well with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
Reilly is No. 2 all-time at Cal Poly for saves in a season and two behind record-holder Mike Bille, who earned 14 saves in 2005.
Ben Doucette (2-5) suffered the loss for UC Riverside, allowing two runs and seven hits in seven innings with six walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Cal Poly stranded 13 runners on the basepaths, but turned three double plays, all in the first four innings, to keep UC Riverside off the scoreboard.
Imhof had to wriggle out of a tight jam in the fourth inning as UC Riverside loaded the bases with nobody out on three singles. A shallow fly ball to center field resulted in the first out and Torres caught a fly ball down the right-field line and threw to the plate for an inning-ending double play. It was Torres' fifth outfield assist of the season.
The game featured a controversial call at first base that was reversed following an umpire conference and led to the ejection of UC Riverside head coach Doug Smith.
With a runner at third base and two outs, Highlander pinch-hitter Francisco Tellez grounded to third base. Allen threw to first baseman Tommy Pluschkell, but the initial ruling was that the throw pulled Pluschkell off the bag and the run scored, tying the game at 2-2.
Mustang head coach Larry Lee asked for a conference of the umpires and, after two minutes of discussion, the call was reversed. Tellez was called out, the inning was over and the run was taken off the scoreboard.
Smith came out to argue the call and was ejected from the game after tossing his cap.
Cal Poly then scored its insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and runners at first and second, freshman designated hitter Brian Mundell grounded to shortstop. UC Riverside tried to turn the double play to end the inning, but the relay throw to first base sailed toward the UC Riverside dugout and Denver Chavez scored the unearned run.
Reilly gave up a one-out walk in the ninth, but a strikeout and two grounders ended the game.
Mustang sophomore center fielder Jordan Ellis had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single, while junior left fielder David Armendariz singled in the fourth to stretch his hitting streak to nine games.
Ellis, Torres (pictured above) and Allen each had two of Cal Poly's nine hits. UC Riverside's seven hits included three singles each by center fielder Devyn Bolasky and first baseman Clayton Prestridge. All 16 hits in the game were singles.
Cal Poly has won eight of 12 series this season. The Mustangs reached the 30-win mark for the ninth time in the last 14 years.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock in Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Bryan Granger (5-3, 4.91 ERA) will face UC Riverside junior right-hander Zach Varela (3-0, 0.74 ERA).