SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior southpaw Matt Imhof and sophomore second baseman Mark Mathias both grew up in Fremont and played for arch-rivals Mission San Jose and Irvington high schools, respectively.
On Friday night, Imhof pitched his first shutout and second complete game while Mathias, a former teammate of Imhof on a travel league team early in their baseball careers, extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI single in a seven-run first-inning rally as No. 5 Cal Poly opened Big West Conference play with an 8-0 victory over UC Davis before 1,177 in Baggett Stadium.
With the win, Cal Poly improves to 21-4. UC Davis, which had won eight of its last 10 games, falls to 12-10.
Imhof (6-1) struck out 13, the fourth time this season he has reached double figures in strikeouts, did not allow a walk and scattered four hits against the same team in which he produced his first career complete game. That was a 7-1 Mustang win a year ago, also in Baggett Stadium.
Imhof established a career high for strikeouts, 15, against Seattle three weeks ago and twice has struck out 14 batters in a game this season.
Imhof retired the first nine UC Davis batters in the game and allowed just one runner to reach third base. He retired the side in order seven times.
Mathias (pictured above) singled twice and was hit by a pitch in a 2-for-3 day at the plate, knocking in one run and scoring another. He is 23-for-51 (.451) with 17 RBI during his hitting streak, elevating his average exactly 200 points to .360.
Cal Poly, which produced a 13-run inning last Monday against California, parlayed six hits and three walks into seven runs in the first inning Friday night. Key hits were a two-run single by senior third baseman Jimmy Allen, an RBI double by junior center fielder Jordan Ellis and run-scoring singles by Mathias and senior catcher Chris Hoo.
The Mustangs added a run in the fourth as Ellis singled, stole second base and scored from second on a deep sacrifice fly to center field by sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell.
The only serious Aggie scoring threat came in the fourth, but with one out and runners at second and third, UC Davis was turned away thanks to a pair of Imhof strikeouts.
UC Davis also had runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh before Imhof notched another strikeout.
Ellis and Mathias had two of Cal Poly's eight hits. Junior right fielder Nick Torres extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single. UC Davis' four hits were singles by four different players.
The loss went to Aggie right-hander Harry Stanwyck (1-4), who threw 107 pitches in four innings and allowed all eight runs and eight hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Justin Mullins tossed four scoreless, hitless innings in relief for UC Davis.
Due to the approaching storm front, the second game of the series will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. Freshman right-hander Justin Calomeni (5-1, 2.76 ERA) of Cal Poly will face UC Davis sophomore right-hander Max Cordy (1-0, 4.87 ERA).
Sunday's series finale also will begin at 1 p.m.