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April 5, 2014

No. 5 Cal Poly Evens Big West Series Against UCSB With Walk-Off 8-7 Win

POSTGAME INTERVIEWS (Courtesy Shotgun Spratling):
   HEAD COACH LARRY LEE | CATCHER CHRIS HOO

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior catcher Chris Hoo singled up the middle with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring Brett Barbier from second base, as No. 5 Cal Poly registered its first walk-off victory of the 2014 baseball season, defeating No. 13 UC Santa Barbara 8-7 before 2,072 fans Saturday night in Baggett Stadium.

Sophomore first baseman Ryan Drobny drew a leadoff walk and Barbier, running for Drobny, advanced to second on Peter Van Gansen's sacrifice bunt. Dillon Tate, UCSB's fifth pitcher of the game, relieved Dylan Hecht and gave up the game-winning single to Hoo on a 1-0 pitch.

With the win, Cal Poly evened its Big West Conference series against the Gauchos at a game apiece with the rubber match set for Sunday at 1 o'clock. Cal Poly lifted its home record to 18-2 and overall mark to 25-5, including a 4-1 mark in conference games, while UC Santa Barbara fell to 20-6 and 2-3.

For the second straight night, the team collecting fewer hits won. Cal Poly outhit UCSB 12-10 in an 8-6 loss Friday night and the Mustangs were outhit 16-11 in Saturday's victory. Cal Poly benefitted from nine walks issued by Gaucho pitchers on Saturday as well.

The Mustang win took 3 hours, 41 minutes to complete, eight minutes shorter than Friday night.

Junior right-hander Reed Reilly (1-1) pitched three scoreless innings for the victory despite allowing four walks. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. UCSB left a runner at second in the seventh inning, a runner at first in the eighth and runners at first and second in the ninth.

Cal Poly jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings, scoring four times in the second frame, all with two outs, but the visiting Gauchos parlayed seven hits into six runs in the third for a 6-5 advantage.

The Mustangs scored twice in the fourth for a 7-6 lead on a two-run single through the left side of the UCSB infield by senior left fielder Tim Wise and the Gauchos knotted the score at 7-7 in the fifth as center fielder Andrew Calica singled, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on shortstop Ryan Clark's groundout.

The score remained tied until Hoo's game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth. Hoo, who had three hits, including his first home run of the year, and four RBI in Friday's loss, is now hitting .429 with runners in scoring position this season.

UCSB's 16 hits included four singles by first baseman Tyler Kuresa and three by pitcher/designated hitter Robby Nesovic. Second baseman Woody Woodward and Calica each added two hits.

Second baseman Mark Mathias, center fielder Jordan Ellis and designated hitter Brian Mundell all had two hits for Cal Poly. Mathias, hitting in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, and Ellis both produced a single and a double.

In Friday's loss, nine of Cal Poly's 12 hits and five of its six runs were collected by the bottom four Mustangs in the batting order. Saturday night, nine of the 11 hits and five of the eight runs were produced by the top six hitters in the Mustang lineup.

UCSB was 7-0 in one-run games and 14-0 when scoring six or more runs prior to Saturday's loss.

Cal Poly will send sophomore right-hander Casey Bloomquist (6-0, 1.48 ERA) to the mound Sunday against UCSB freshman right-hander Shane Bieber (1-0, 3.54 ERA).

Photo by Owen Main | www.fansmanship.com