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February 22, 2014

No. 22 Cal Poly Evens Series Against No. 12 UCLA With 8-0 Shutout

SLATER LEE NAMED PLAYER OF THE DAY BY PERFECTGAME.ORG
TALKING BASEBALL: JOE TARICA IN SUNDAY TRIBUNE COLUMN

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Freshman right-hander Slater Lee shut out defending national champion and No. 12 UCLA with a two-hitter and Nick Torres and Brian Mundell belted three-run home runs as No. 22 Cal Poly beat the Bruins 8-0 in a non-conference baseball game Saturday afternoon in Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Lee (pictured at right)  threw 108 pitches, 73 for strikes, recorded 24 first-pitch strikes to the 31 batters he faced and notched seven strikeouts while allowing just one walk and two harmless singles en route to his second win as a Mustang.

A week earlier, Lee held Kansas State to one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings with one walk and seven strikeouts in his debut as a Mustang. Cal Poly went on to win the game 5-2.

"That was a very impressive outing by Slater, especially after what UCLA hitters did to us the night before," said 12th-year Mustang head coach Larry Lee, noting the Bruins' 11-hit attack in a 5-2 victory. "He kept them off balance and his performance is something we will always remember and needed. Slater brought a lot of energy to our ballclub with his performance today."

Torres came up with two outs, runners at second and third, and hit the first pitch from Grant Watson for a three-run home run to left field, giving Cal Poly a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Two innings later, Mundell was at the plate with runners at first and second with nobody out and greeted reliever Scott Burke with a towering, no-doubt home run, also to left field, as Cal Poly broke the game open with a 7-0 advantage.

Both Torres (pictured below) and Mundell have two home runs on the year. Torres has 14 career homers as a Mustang and Mundell 13.

"Those two guys in the middle of our lineup are our best hitters and they came through today," said Lee. "Both have the ability to drive the ball and both had very good approaches today.

"The first three-run home run really got our confidence going and the second one was the exclamation mark," Lee added. "Now we need to get the other hitters in our lineup to have better approaches at the plate."

With the win, Cal Poly (5-1) evened its series against UCLA (4-2) at a game apiece. Final game and the rubber match is set for 1 p.m. Sunday with sophomore right-hander Casey Bloomquist (1-0, 1.80 ERA) on the mound for the Mustangs, facing UCLA sophomore right-hander Cody Poteet (0-0, 2.08 ERA).

The loss went to UCLA junior southpaw Grant Watson (1-1), who allowed six runs (five earned) and six hits in four-plus innings. A week earlier against Portland, Watson, a nine-game winner a year ago, gave up just one unearned run and three hits in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Slater pitched Cal Poly's first complete-game shutout since Kyle Anderson blanked Washington on March 10, 2012. Only other nine-inning complete-game two-hitter by a Mustang in Cal Poly's 20-year Division I history was posted by Mike Zirelli against Fresno State on March 8, 1996.

Lee allowed two runners to third base and retired 12 of 13 Bruin hitters early in the game as well as the final 10 UCLA batters of the contest.

Cal Poly's nine hits included a single and home run by both Torres and Mundell. Senior third baseman Jimmy Allen added a double.

UCLA's two singles were by center fielder Brian Carroll leading off the first inning and shortstop Trent Chatterton in the fifth inning.

Photos by Matt Brown | Matt Brown Photography