Pluschkell, Wagman Lead Cal Poly Baseball to 6-0 Victory over UC Irvine


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Redshirt freshman first baseman Tommy Pluschkell doubled to drive in the first two runs of the game and junior right-hander Joey Wagman scattered seven hits over eight scoreless innings as Cal Poly blanked UC Irvine 6-0 in the opener of a Big West Conference baseball series Thursday night in Baggett Stadium.

Wagman (5-2) struck out four and walked one. He retired the side in order twice and allowed just two Anteater runners to reach third base, throwing 110 pitches. Redshirt freshman right-hander Reed Reilly pitched the ninth, allowing one hit with one strikeout.

The loss went to UC Irvine sophomore right-hander Andrew Thurman (2-2), who allowed all six runs and seven hits in five innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

With the win, Cal Poly evened its conference record at 2-2, one game behind co-leaders UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton, both 3-1. The Mustangs are 18-10 for the season while the Anteaters, shut out for the second time this year, fell to 17-10.

UC Irvine lost the opener of a conference series for the first time since 2008, a stretch of 25 Big West series. The Anteaters lost the opener of a conference series against UC Santa Barbara on the final weekend of the 2008 regular season.

Cal Poly scored four times in the second inning and added two more in the fifth.

Pluschkell (pictured at right) doubled down the left-field line to knock in a pair of runs in the second. Sophomore designated hitter Tim Wise drove in the third run on a fielder's choice and junior center fielder Mitch Haniger capped the uprising with a sacrifice fly, his Big West-leading fifth of the year.

Haniger also leads the Big West with six home runs and 33 RBI.

In the fifth, Haniger, sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen and freshman right fielder Nick Torres hit back-to-back-to-back doubles with one out to produce two runs.

Torres was in a 5-for-41 slump before his RBI double in the fifth. Mustang junior second baseman Evan Busby contributed a bad-hop single in the second inning, snapping a 1-for-32 slump.

Pluschkell, the lone Mustang with two hits in the game, lifted his batting average to .429 with a single and double. He has six starts at first base this season, all in the last three weeks.

Shortstop D.J. Crumlich produced two singles and a double for UC Irvine. Center fielder Christian Ramirez added a single and double. Both teams had eight hits.

Cal Poly won by shutout for the fifth time this season. UC Irvine gave up more than five runs in a game for the first time in 10 contests.

Second game of the series is scheduled for Friday night at 6 with Cal Poly senior southpaw Kyle Anderson (4-1, 2.27 ERA) to face UC Irvine senior right-hander Crosby Slaught (3-2, 3.16 ERA).

Final game of the series is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. The series was moved up a day due to Easter Sunday.