SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior right-hander Joey Wagman earned his 11th victory of the season, moving into second place in the Cal Poly record book, while sophomore right fielder Nick Torres and senior catcher Elliot Stewart both knocked in two runs as No. 27 Cal Poly defeated Cal State Northridge 5-1 in a Big West Conference baseball game Friday night before 1,168 in Baggett Stadium.
Wagman (11-3) allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings with one walk and nine strikeouts before giving way to sophomore closer Reed Reilly in the eighth inning. Reilly, not in a save situation, tossed two scoreless frames with five strikeouts.
Wagman now has 25 career victories, moving into a tie for third with Mike Krukow, a Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Famer and 14-year Major Leaguer who now is a broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants. Dan Chergey holds the mark of 32 while Mike Zirelli is No. 2 with 27.
Wagman (pictured at right) is one of six Mustangs with 11 wins in a season. Garrett Olson earned a school-record 12 victories in 2005. Wagman is 8-0 with a 1.65 ERA in eight home starts this season.
With Friday's win, Cal Poly improved to 35-16 for the season, 19 games above the .500 mark for the first time this year, and 13-9 in Big West games, tied for third place with UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. Second-place Cal State Northridge fell to 31-21 and 15-7, three games behind first-place Cal State Fullerton, a 5-2 winner over UC Irvine on Friday night.
The game was scoreless until the third inning when Cal State Northridge tallied a run on three singles, the last by center fielder Nate Ring for an RBI.
Cal Poly responded with four runs in the bottom of the third.
Freshman first baseman John Schuknecht tripled to dead center field to open the inning and scored on an RBI single to right-center field by senior second baseman Denver Chavez. Chavez stole second and eventually scored on an RBI single to left field by Torres.
After a walk and a wild pitch put runners at second and third, Cal State Northridge head coach Matt Curtis elected to intentionally walk junior left fielder David Armendariz, but Stewart, hitting .218 at the start of the game, followed with a two-run bloop double down the left-field line, giving Cal Poly a 4-1 advantage.
The Mustangs added an insurance run in the fourth. Schuknecht drew a leadoff walk, sophomore center fielder Jordan Ellis was hit by a pitch and, after a groundout moved Schuknecht to third, he scored on an RBI double down the right-field line by Torres.
Cal State Northridge loaded the bases with out out in the sixth inning, but Wagman struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Wagman lowered his ERA to 2.99 as he threw 135 pitches over seven-plus innings. He has 96 strikeouts, 38 looking, and both figures lead the Big West. The strikeout total is three shy of Cal Poly's all-time top 10 for strikeouts in a season.
The loss went to Matador sophomore lefty Jerry Keel (7-2) as he allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest start of the year, with three walks and four strikeouts. Keel entered the game with a 1.85 ERA, third-best in the Big West.
Hits were even at nine apiece.
Chavez, Torres and Schuknecht all had two hits for Cal Poly, each with a single and one extra-base hit. Stewart added a two-run double.
Chavez also turned in two outstanding defensive plays at second base for the Mustangs while Armendariz ended the game with a diving catch of a sinking line drive off the bat of Joshua Goossen-Brown in left field. Armendariz and Goossen-Brown are best friends and graduates of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.
Left fielder Cal Vogelsang singled twice for Cal State Northridge.
Cal Poly, which has won seven of its last nine games, entered Friday's game with a program-best RPI of 26 and WarrenNolan.com listed the Mustangs with an RPI of 24 late Friday night.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday at 1 o'clock with Cal Poly to send sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof (5-3, 2.46 ERA) to the mound against Cal State Northridge freshman right-hander Calvin Copping (5-4, 3.21 ERA).
Sunday's series finale also begins at 1 o'clock.