SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior third baseman Jimmy Allen scored on a wild pitch behind the back of Peter Van Gansen, snapping an 8-8 tie in the seventh inning, and No. 8 Cal Poly went on to beat Northern Illinois 11-9 in the finale of a three-game non-conference baseball series Thursday night in Baggett Stadium.
Cal Poly added two insurance runs in the eighth on sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell's two-run single up the middle with one out and Reed Reilly and Casey Bloomquist closed it out in the ninth for the Mustangs' fourth straight victory.
With the win, Cal Poly completed a series sweep, its second of the season, and has won 14 straight home games, a streak carrying over from last season. The run is the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. The Mustangs improved to 14-3 on the year while Northern Illinois, Mid-American Conference West Division champion a year ago, fell to 1-15-1.
Northern Illinois outhit Cal Poly 17-11 and the two teams stranded 31 runners on the basepaths –- a season-high 16 by Cal Poly -- in the 4-hour, 5-minute game.
Junior southpaw Taylor Chris (1-0) (pictured below), the fourth of six Cal Poly pitchers used in the game, earned the win, tossing 3 1/3 innings and allowing one run and five hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Reilly, bidding for his fifth save, secured four outs before pulling a hamstring in his left leg with one out in the ninth inning. Bloomquist inherited a first-and-third situation and secured a pair of grounders to the right side to earn his first save of the year.
Bloomquist, who threw 10 pitches, is scheduled to start Saturday's game against Wagner.
The loss went to Northern Illinois' Kevin Sweeney (0-1), who gave up three runs and three hits in three innings.
Cal Poly's 11 hits included two singles each by Allen, first baseman Tim Wise and sophomore shortstop Mark Mathias. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Drobny added a run-scoring double. Mundell and junior right fielder Nick Torres each knocked in a pair of runs.
Northern Illinois second baseman Justin Fletcher and shortstop Brian Sisler each had three hits. Fletcher produced a single, double and triple for the Huskies.
Northern Illinois scored four times in the top of the first inning and held the lead until Cal Poly tallied a run in the sixth as Torres was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at 8-8.
In the series, Wise was 7-for-11 with three RBI and five runs scored while Mathias, Allen and junior center fielder Jordan Ellis all had four hits -- Mathias driving in four runs. The Mustangs hit .326 in the series and compiled a 3.67 staff ERA.
Cal Poly hosts Wagner (2-8) for a three-game series Friday through Sunday at Baggett Stadium. First pitch both Friday and Saturday is set for 6 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. start Sunday. Junior southpaw Matt Imhof (3-1, 1.33 ERA) will start for Cal Poly on Friday night.
Top photo of play at the plate by Owen Main | www.fansmanship.com
Photo of Taylor Chris by Ray Ambler | RA Photos