Cal Poly Earns First Walkoff Victory of 2017 Season, 5-4 in 13 Innings

Cal Poly Earns First Walkoff Victory of 2017 Season, 5-4 in 13 Innings


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A triple to the gap in left-center field by Kyle Marinconz scored Nick Meyer from first base and lifted Cal Poly to its first walkoff win of the year, a 13-inning, 5-4 triumph over Wichita State in the opener of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night before 1,340 in Baggett Stadium.

Cal Poly has had difficulty scoring with two outs this season, but four of the five runs tallied by the Mustangs on Friday night were with two men down. The Mustangs also won despite getting just two leadoff batters on base in 13 tries.

With its third straight win, Cal Poly improved to 6-11 for the season. Wichita State fell to 10-7 overall and 1-7 on the road.

Five Mustang pitchers combined to strike out 19 Shocker batters, one shy of the school Division I record. Sophomore right-hander Michael Clark (2-0), the last of the quintet used by Mustang head coach Larry Lee, earned the win, pitching one scoreless frame.

Junior right-hander Erich Uelmen finally got some run support, but he didn't get the victory, remaining 1-3 on the year. In three consecutive starts after a season-opening win at Cal, Uelmen received zero runs over 20 2/3 innings.

That streak ended in the first inning Friday night when Alex McKenna and Bradlee Beesley both singled and Josh George's sacrifice fly to center field gave Cal Poly a 1-0 lead.

Uelmen went seven-plus innings and gave up three runs and five hits with one walk. He matched his career high of 10 strikeouts set three weeks earlier at Pacific.

Wichita State tied the game in the third on a triple by Travis Young and an RBI groundout by Alec Bohm.

In the Mustang fourth, the first two batters were retired before singles by Marinconz, Michael Sanderson and Elijah Skipps produced the tie-breaking run. Colby Barrick's bloop double down the left-field line scored both Skipps and Sanderson for a 4-1 Mustang cushion.

The visiting Shockers battled back with a run in the seventh on Greyson Jenista's RBI groundout and two more in the eighth on Luke Ritter's two-run home run to left field.

Neither team could score again until the Mustangs rallied with two outs in the 13th. Meyer singled to right field and, after closer Ben Hecht was summoned from the Shocker bullpen, Marinconz (pictured at right) lined the first pitch into the left-center field gap. Travis Young stumbled after cutting the ball off, allowing Meyer to score the winning run.

It was the fourth 13-inning game in Baggett Stadium's 17-year history and Marinconz made sure that Friday's contest wouldn't be the first to go 14 innings in the facility's chronicle.

Chandler Sanburn (2-1), the sixth of seven Wichita State pitchers used in the game, allowed one run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings but took the loss.

The seven Shocker hurlers did not allow a walk and Cal Poly's five pitchers issued just two walks.

Cal Poly's 13 hits included three by Marinconz, lifting his average 25 points, and Barrick, whose average shot up from .250 to .353. Meyer and Sanderson each added two hits.

Wichita State was led offensively by Jenista and Ritter with two hits each.

Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with sophomore right-hander Spencer Howard (0-0, 1.88 ERA) of Cal Poly to face Wichita State southpaw Cody Tyler (2-2, 5.40 ERA).

Sunday's series finale starts at 1 o'clock.

Photos courtesy of Matt Aguirre