SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior southpaw Taylor Chris pitched five scoreless innings and senior catcher Chris Hoo knocked in two runs with three hits as No. 5 Cal Poly clinched its Big West Conference baseball series against UC Davis with a 5-3 victory Saturday afternoon in Baggett Stadium.
Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs have won four straight and 12 of their last 13 contests, improving to 22-4 overall and 2-0 in Big West games, while UC Davis falls to 12-11 and 0-2. The Aggies had won eight of their last 10 games prior to the start of the series.
Chris (pictured at right) relieved Cal Poly starter Justin Calomeni in the fifth inning with nobody out and runners at first and second. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, Chris secured a strikeout and groundout to wriggle out of the bases-loaded jam and preserve Cal Poly's 4-3 lead.
Chris (2-0) finished with four strikeouts and one walk, allowing no hits. He retired 14 of the final 15 UC Davis batters he faced.
The loss went to UC Davis starter Max Cordy (1-1) as the right-hander gave up four runs (three earned) and three hits in 3 2/3 innings with five walks and three strikeouts.
Hoo went 3-for-4, including a double, to lift his batting average 24 points to .284. He singled to knock in a run with two outs in the second inning, singled up the middle for another RBI in the fourth and doubled in the sixth, eventually scoring an insurance run for the Mustangs.
Hoo is 14-for-37 (.378) with runners in scoring position this season. Hitting in the ninth spot in the batting order, he is second on the team with nine doubles and fourth with his 20 RBI.
UC Davis tallied three runs in the third inning, all on two-out hits, to take a 3-1 lead. Second baseman Steven Patterson, designated hitter Nick Lynch and first baseman Spencer Henderson all knocked in runs with two-out hits for the Aggies.
Cal Poly regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Three walks loaded the bases and, with two outs, Cordy committed a pair of balks to score the first two runs of the inning. Hoo's RBI single up the middle capped the rally, giving the Mustangs a 4-3 lead.
Cal Poly added an insurance run in the sixth as Hoo doubled with two outs and senior left fielder Tim Wise tripled to left, scoring Hoo. Wise tried for an inside-the-park home run but was thrown out at the plate.
In addition to Hoo's three hits, Wise added a pair of hits as Cal Poly outhit UC Davis 8-7. Junior right-fielder Nick Torres extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff double in the fifth inning while sophomore second baseman Mark Mathias has a 16-game hitting streak following his infield single with two outs in the seventh.
The seven Aggie hits were by seven different players. Henderson's hit was a double.
Cal Poly has won 22 of its last 23 home games and is 15-1 at home this season. The Mustangs own an 85-24 record at home (77.8 percent) since late in the 2010 season. UC Davis is 0-11 at Baggett Stadium since joining the Big West in 2008.
Cal Poly has won seven series this season, including three sweeps, and split a rain-shortened two-game series at USC.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Casey Bloomquist (5-0, 1.82 ERA) to face UC Davis senior right-hander Evan Wolf (2-1, 4.76 ERA).