SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — UC Irvine closer Jordan Bocko pitched four scoreless innings for the win, facing just one batter over the minimum, as the Anteaters claimed the rubber game of their Big West Conference baseball series against Cal Poly with a 4-1 victory Sunday afternoon inside Baggett Stadium.
Bocko (4-2), who earned his seventh save Friday night with two scoreless frames, allowed two hits and struck out three for UC Irvine, which won the series, two games to one, and improved to 10-8 for third place in the Big West and 29-20 for the season.
Cal Poly fell to 23-27 and 9-9, slipping from a third-place tie into a tie for fourth place with Long Beach State and Hawai'i.
Mikey Filia, Konnor Zickefoose, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Parker Coss all had two of UC Irvine's 11 hits.
Junior designated hitter Kyle Marinconz (pictured above) had a 3-for-4 day at the plate for Cal Poly, his first three-hit game of the season and 18th multiple-hit contest.
Marinconz, despite fouling off a pitch onto his right foot Friday, necessitating the move from shortstop to designated hitter the rest of the weekend, was 7-for-11 in the series with a double, one run scored and one RBI.
All 18 hits in the game were singles.
UC Irvine scored in the second inning on Matt Reitano's groundout and Cal Poly tied the score in the third on a bases-loaded single up the middle by catcher Nick Meyer.
The Anteaters grabbed the lead for good with two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth. Bases-loaded singles by Fitzpatrick and Nick Anderson plated the runs in the fifth and Christian Koss singled to left-center for an RBI in the sixth.
Cal Poly left the bases loaded in the third after scoring its run and the Mustangs also left runners at first and second in the fourth.
Bocko entered the game in relief of starter Taylor Rushing and secured the final out of the fourth. He gave up only singles to Marinconz leading off both the fifth and eighth frames and the Mustangs couldn't capitalize.
The loss was charged to Mustang starter Michael Clark (3-6), though only one of the runs he gave up over 4 1/3 innings was earned. Austin Dondanville tossed the final 4 2/3 innings and gave up one run, also unearned.
Cal Poly, which has played errorless defense in just 10 of its 50 games this season, committed three errors Sunday.
In addition to Marinconz's 7-for-11 performance at the plate, junior center fielder Alex McKenna went 8-for-13 in the series with a double.
Only two of UC Irvine's 32 hits in the series went for extra bases, both doubles.
Cal Poly concludes an eight-game home stand with four more games next week, hosting Pepperdine on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and UC Santa Barbara for a three-game Big West series Friday through Sunday (6 p.m., 1 p.m. and 1 p.m.).
Photo above courtesy of Michael Glasgow