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No. 22 Cal Poly Opens Pacific Series With 8-4 Victory

STOCKTON, Calif. – Sophomore right fielder Nick Torres drove in three runs, two with his seventh home run of the season, and senior right-hander Joey Wagman recovered from a rocky start to earn his school record-tying 12th victory as No. 22 Cal Poly earned its fifth straight win, defeating Pacific 8-4 Thursday night at Klein Family Field.

The triumph in the first game of a three-game Big West Conference series ending the 2013 regular season lifted the Mustangs' overall mark to 38-16, tying the school Division I record for victories in a season. Cal Poly's 2004 squad also won 38 games. In Division II, the Mustangs won 41 games in both 1977 and 1992.

Cal Poly is alone in second place in the Big West at 16-9, one game ahead of Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors fell to Big West champion Cal State Fullerton 5-2 while the Gauchos defeated UC Davis 10-5.

Pacific, playing its final games as a member of the Big West Conference, fell to 14-38 and 6-19. The Tigers are moving to the West Coast Conference on July 1.

Wagman (12-3) gave up four runs and five hits in the first two innings, but settled down after that, scattering eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts over eight innings of work. During one stretch, Wagman retired eight straight, 12 of 13  and 18 of 20 Tiger batters and all of his strikeouts were in his final three innings of work.

Wagman (pictured at right) caught southpaw Garrett Olson in the Cal Poly record book for wins in a season. Olson, who accomplished the feat in 2005, is now pitching in the Korean Baseball League after six seasons in the Major Leagues.

Junior right-hander Michael Holback gave up a leadoff triple but nothing else in a scoreless ninth inning.

The loss went to Pacific starter Jake Jenkins (1-9) as he allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Cal Poly overcame an early 4-1 deficit for its 10th win in 12 games, scoring three runs in the third inning and breaking the 4-4 tie with a run in the fourth.

Senior second baseman Denver Chavez opened the third with a triple and sophomore center fielder Jordan Ellis singled to score Chavez. Torres followed with his two-run home run to left field, tying the game at 4-4.

The Mustangs snapped the deadlock one inning later as freshman first baseman John Schuknecht led off with a single and, two batters later, scored on an RBI double by Ellis.

Cal Poly added two insurance runs in the seventh. Ellis doubled with one out and, after Pacific head coach Ed Sprague elected to intentionally walk Torres, junior third baseman Jimmy Allen and junior left fielder David Armendariz both responded with run-scoring singles for a three-run Mustang cushion.

Torres doubled in the eighth and scored on an error for Cal Poly's final run in the ninth inning.

Ellis finished with three hits and a pair of RBI while Torres also had three hits and drove in three runs. Allen added two singles and an RBI as Cal Poly outhit Pacific 12-9.

Pacific's top hitters were center fielder Tyler Sullivan and first baseman Erik Lockwood, each with two singles.

Cal Poly has won 24 of its last 30 games against Pacific and 30 of 40, winning series against the Tigers 13 straight years.

Second game of the series will be played Friday night at 6 with a pair of left-handers on the mound -- sophomore Matt Imhof (6-3, 2.49 ERA) for Cal Poly and senior John Haberman (2-5, 4.83) for Pacific.

The series finale is set for Saturday at 2 o'clock.