Cal Poly Evens UC Santa Barbara Series With 4-3 Victory

Cal Poly Evens UC Santa Barbara Series With 4-3 Victory

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Freshman southpaw Kyle Smith scattered six hits over 8 1/3 innings while Mark Mathias, Peter Van Gansen and Brian Mundell, the top three in the batting order, all produced three hits as Cal Poly defeated UC Santa Barbara 4-3 in a Big West Conference baseball game Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

In winning by just a single run despite a 16-hit offensive attack and three UC Santa Barbara errors, Cal Poly evened the three-game series at a game apiece and improved to 16-19 overall and 5-3 in the Big West. Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs have won six of their last seven games and are 9-5 in their last 14 contests.

UC Santa Barbara, ranked Nos. 9-11 in the major NCAA Division I polls this week, fell to 27-9 and 5-3.

Cal Poly scored twice in both the fourth and seventh innings to forge ahead 4-1, but the host Gauchos tallied single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull within one and had runners at first and second with one out in the ninth.

Senior right-hander Danny Zandona struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Plantier for the second out while senior southpaw Taylor Chris was summoned from the bullpen to face the left-handed swinging leadoff batter, Andrew Calica and got the Gaucho center fielder to strike out for the final out of the game.

Chris earned his first save while Smith (4-5) (pictured above) notched his second straight win with four strikeouts and five walks.

The loss went to Gaucho right-hander Shane Bieber (5-3), who gave up four runs (two earned) and 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

UC Santa Barbara committed two errors in the fourth, allowing a pair of unearned runs. Ryan Drobny's groundout tallied the first run and Mathias singled to center field to give Cal Poly a 2-0 lead.

After the Gauchos scored in the bottom of the fourth on two walks, a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, Cal Poly extended its lead to three runs in the seventh. Back-to-back doubles by Van Gansen and Mundell produced the first run and Brett Barbier's sacrifice fly to right completed Cal Poly's scoring at 4-1.

Clay Fisher's run-scoring single in the seventh and a wild pitch in the eighth cut Cal Poly's lead to 4-3, but Smith got Cameron Newell to ground out to second base ending the eighth and secured one out in the ninth before turning things over to Zandona and Chris.

Van Gansen and Mundell each had two singles and a double while Mathias singled three times. Third baseman Tommy Pluschkell added two singles for the Mustangs, who outhit the Gauchos 16-6.

Cal Poly had several other scoring opportunities, but left 13 runners on the basepaths, including the bases loaded in the eighth and five other runners in scoring position.

Fisher collected two of the Gauchos' six hits. All UCSB hits were singles.

Rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock. Cal Poly will start freshman right-hander Erich Uelmen (0-0, 9.64 ERA) on the mound, facing UC Santa Barbara junior southpaw Domenic Mazza (4-0, 2.18 ERA).