SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior southpaw Matt Imhof struck out 14 over eight innings and combined with Mark Suniga on a three-hitter as No. 8 Cal Poly defeated Wagner 8-1 in the opening game of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night before 1,057 in Baggett Stadium.
Imhof (4-1) allowed one run and three hits with three walks and Suniga secured the final three outs. For Imhof (pictured at right), it marked the second time this season he has struck out 14 batters in a game, one shy of his career high set against Seattle one week ago.
With its season-high fifth straight win, Cal Poly improved to 15-3 and the Mustangs have won their last 15 home games, including the final seven of the 2013 season. That's the third-longest active streak in Division I, behind only Western Carolina (19) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (16).
Wagner, located on Staten Island in New York City, fell to 2-9.
Five Mustangs -- center fielder Jordan Ellis, right fielder Nick Torres, third baseman Jimmy Allen, second baseman Mark Mathias and shortstop Peter Van Gansen -- each collected two of Cal Poly's 13 hits. Mathias, Van Gansen and designated hitter Brian Mundell all had a pair of RBI. Both of Allen's hits were doubles.
Third baseman Vaughn Champion singled twice for two of Wagner's three hits.
The loss went to Seahawk right-hander Ryan Casey (0-3), who surrendered six runs (four earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings with no walks and two strikeouts. Wagner committed four errors in the game.
Cal Poly scored single runs in the second and fourth frames before breaking the game open with four runs in the fifth. Van Gansen singled to drive in the second-inning run and first baseman John Schuknecht tripled to right-center field to knock in the fourth-inning marker.
Key blows in Cal Poly's six-hit fifth frame were an RBI double by Allen and run-scoring singles by Mundell and Mathias.
After Wagner scored its lone run of the game in the sixth on shortstop Nick Mascelli's single down the right-field line, Cal Poly answered with single runs in the sixth and eighth frames. An error on Mundell's RBI grounder accounted for the run in the sixth while a sacrifice fly by Mathias tallied the final run of the game.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 in Baggett Stadium with sophomore right-hander Casey Bloomquist (3-0, 0.89 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly, facing Wagner senior left-hander Matt Morris (1-2, 5.82 ERA).
First pitch for Sunday's series finale will be at 1 o'clock.