RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Sophomore right-hander Casey Bloomquist earned his 10th victory of the season while senior catcher Chris Hoo, junior center fielder Jordan Ellis and sophomore shortstop Peter Van Gansen all knocked in a pair of runs as No. 3/4/5 Cal Poly clinched its three-game Big West Conference baseball series against UC Riverside with a 7-2 victory Sunday afternoon at the Riverside Sports Complex.
Bloomquist (pictured at right) struck out three and walked three, scattering nine hits over six innings, and left the game with a 5-2 lead, improving to 10-1 on the year. Junior right-hander Bryan Granger tossed two scoreless frames with three strikeouts and junior right-hander Reed Reilly closed it out with a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts.
With the win, Cal Poly, which snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday night with a 7-5 victory, clinches the series, two games to one, and lifts its records to 38-9 overall and 14-4 for second place in the Big West, a game and a half behind front-runner UC Irvine.
UC Riverside, which had lost seven straight games to Cal Poly before Friday night's 7-3 win, fell to 20-23 and 8-7 with Sunday's loss.
Cal Poly put together a 13-hit offensive attack. Van Gansen, sophomore second baseman Mark Mathias, junior left fielder Zack Zehner and sophomore first baseman John Schuknecht all had a pair of hits, with Zehner and Schuknecht contributing doubles.
Both teams scored a run in the second inning before Cal Poly took control of the game with two runs in both the fourth and sixth frames.
Hoo's sacrifice fly to center field tallied the Mustang run in the second. Hoo also came to the plate in the fourth with nobody out and the bases loaded and hit into a double play, a run scoring to snap the 1-1 tie. Van Gansen followed with an infield hit to make it 3-1 and also resulted in the ejection of UC Riverside head coach Doug Smith.
Van Gansen initially was ruled out, but Mustang head coach Larry Lee called for an umpires' conference and the call was reversed as the officials determined that second baseman Joe Chavez's throw to first base pulled Francisco Tellez off the bag.
A two-run single to right field by Ellis in the sixth extended Cal Poly's lead to 5-1.
Catcher Matt Ellis singled to drive in a run for UC Riverside in the sixth, but the Mustangs got the run back in the seventh as sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell reached base on an error and eventually came home on Hoo's RBI single through the left side of the Highlander infield.
Cal Poly added an insurance run in the ninth on a bases-loaded walk issued to Van Gansen.
The loss went to UC Riverside senior southpaw Ben Doucette (3-4) as he allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
Four Highlanders – Chavez, right fielder David Andriese, left fielder Thomas Walker and designated hitter Drake Zarate – each had a pair of singles.
Cal Poly will play its next four games at home, starting Tuesday night at 6 against Pepperdine. The Mustangs also will host Big West leader UC Irvine for three games next weekend.