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May 19, 2013

No. 27 Cal Poly Completes Cal State Northridge Sweep With 7-2 Victory

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (KSBY-TV)
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (Aaron Bevan)
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS (slocalsports.com)
SENIOR DAY CEREMONY (Aaron Bevan)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Freshman right-hander Casey Bloomquist earned his second victory of the week while senior catcher Elliot Stewart capped a 10-RBI week with his third home run in four games as No. 27 Cal Poly completed a sweep of its Big West Conference baseball series against Cal State Northridge with a 7-2 victory Sunday afternoon before 1,438 in Baggett Stadium.

Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs moved 21 games above the .500 mark for the first time in Cal Poly's 19-year Division I history, improving to 37-16 overall and 15-9 in the Big West, tied for second place with Cal State Northridge. The Matadors, who have not won a series in Baggett Stadium since 1996, slipped to 31-23 for the year.

Bloomquist (6-1), who pitched six-plus innings for the win in Tuesday's 10-4 triumph over CSU Bakersfield, worked into the eighth inning for the first time this season and allowed just two runs and six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

Bloomquist, who worked into the seventh inning in five midweek starts, made his first weekend start of the season. He threw 75 pitches Tuesday and 101 pitches five days later.

Sophomore closer Reed Reilly secured the final five outs and did not allow a run or a walk, giving up two hits and striking out a pair.

Cal Poly's pitchers struck out 39 Cal State Northridge batters in the series and held the Matadors to five total runs for a 1.67 staff ERA.

The loss went to Matador starter John Salas (4-6), who surrendered four runs and six hits in five innings with one walk and four strikeouts.

Stewart (pictured at right) had only five hits for the week, but four went for extra bases and he knocked in 10 runs in the four games. Two of the homers were game-winners -- a two-run shot to snap a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning against CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday and a solo blast leading off the fifth inning Sunday, shattering a 1-1 tie.

One inning later, Stewart laced a two-run single to center field, giving Cal Poly a 5-1 advantage.

Stewart, one of four seniors playing their final home game as a Mustang, has eight home runs this season and 13 in his three-year Mustang career. He also has five of Cal Poly's last eight homers.

Freshman first baseman John Schuknecht and senior second baseman Denver Chavez also had two hits Sunday. Schuknecht doubled, singled and knocked in a run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly while Chavez homered to left field leading off the first inning and singled up the middle for another RBI in the fifth.

Chavez has hit one home run in each of his final three seasons at Cal Poly and, with eight hits, four RBI and three runs scored in the series, lifted his batting average to a team-high .365.

Freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen contributed a single and an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to account for Cal Poly's final run of the game.

First baseman Joshua Goossen-Brown and catcher Alexis Mercado each had two of Cal State Northridge's eight hits.

Cal Poly earned its fifth series sweep of the season and has won nine of its 14 weekend series.

The Mustangs hit .309 in the series, Chavez leading the way by going 8-for-15 with a double and home run. Schuknecht was 6-for-9 with a double and triple while Stewart and sophomore right fielder Nick Torres both collected four hits.

Attendance for the series was 3,613, giving Cal Poly an average of 1,290 fans over 29 home dates, second only to the 2009 season average of 1,312 in Baggett Stadium's 13-year history.

The Mustangs finished 23-6 at home this season, the most home victories ever at Baggett Stadium. The 2009 team also won 23 games while last year's squad won 22 at home. The Mustangs are 64-20 over the last three years in Baggett Stadium.

Four Cal Poly seniors -– Stewart, Chavez and pitchers Joey Wagman and Kyle Brueggemann -- and one junior -- outfielder Matt Russell -- were honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. Russell, a redshirt in 2010, will soon graduate in general engineering.

The Mustangs have won four straight and nine of their last 11 games, own an RPI of No. 23 according to WarrenNolan.com and conclude the 2013 regular season with a three-game Big West series at Pacific on Thursday through Saturday (6, 6 and 2 p.m.).