SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Kyle Smith and Justin Calomeni combined on a three-hitter as Cal Poly defeated UC Davis 2-1 in the opener of a Big West Conference baseball series Thursday night in Baggett Stadium.
Smith (6-6) struck out a career-high 10 batters and Calomeni retired all five Aggie batters he faced, four via strikeout, for his seventh save as Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs improved to 22-7 at home, 31-24 overall and 11-11 in Big West games, moving into a tie for fourth place with idle Hawai'i (12-12) and UC Riverside (11-11), a 3-1 winner at UC Santa Barbara.
UC Davis fell to 16-35 and 4-18, losing its eighth game in a row.
The two teams played five scoreless innings in an hour and could not get any leadoff men on base until the sixth when both squads got the leadoff man on and all of the runs in the game were scored.
Spencer Henderson singled up the middle to open the sixth for the Aggies. After a sacrifice bunt moved Henderson to second base, Tanner Bily singled to right-center field, scoring Henderson.
Cal Poly scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning despite having two runners thrown out at second base.
Nick Meyer singled up the middle with one out and Brett Barbier hit his sixth career triple to left-center field, scoring Meyer. John Schuknecht's high pop-up behind first base near the line fell between first baseman Henderson and second baseman Cameron Briggs, allowing Barbier to score the go-ahead run.
After striking out the side in the seventh, Smith recorded the first out of the eighth inning but also gave up his first two walks of the game, forcing Lee to bring Calomeni in from the bullpen.
Calomeni, who pitched 5 2/3 innings in relief for the win Sunday at UC Riverside, struck out the next two UC Davis batters to end the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth, two on strikeouts, to end the game.
Smith (pictured above) struck out nine batters in a game twice earlier this season against Pacific and UC Santa Barbara. He retired 10 Aggies in a row from the second through fifth innings and threw just 48 pitches in the first five frames before Henderson's leadoff single in the sixth.
The loss went to UC Davis redshirt freshman southpaw Robert Garcia (3-5) as he allowed two runs and six hits over six innings with three walks and three strikeouts. Matt Blais retired all six Mustang batters he faced.
Cal Poly's six hits, by six different hitters, included the triple by Barbier and a double by Michael Sanderson. UC Davis was held to three singles by three different batters.
Second game of the series will be played Friday night at 6 o'clock with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Erich Uelmen (5-2, 3.76 ERA) to face Henderson (1-5, 7.68), a senior southpaw for UC Davis.
Cal Poly Opens UC Davis Series With 2-1 Victory; Mustangs 22-7 at Home