SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — For five innings, Cal Poly seemed destined for a three-games-to-one series win against Pacific as sophomore southpaw Thomas Triantos had pitched five scoreless innings, scattering two hits, and the Mustangs on top 1-0.
Ryan Schalch and the Tigers had other thoughts.
A .136 hitter standing at the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Schalch sent an 0-1 pitch from junior right-handed reliever Cam Schneider over the left field wall for a grand slam, shattering a 1-1 tie and sparking Pacific to an 8-3 victory Sunday afternoon inside Baggett Stadium.
Thus, the two teams split the four-game series, leaving Cal Poly with a 5-7 mark and Pacific at 5-8.
Cal Poly took a 1-0 lead on a safety squeeze bunt by junior catcher Nick Meyer in the fourth inning.
Pacific sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth, turning a 1-0 deficit into an 8-1 advantage with eight runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter. Even a Baggett Stadium dust devil didn't slow the Tigers.
Schneider (0-1), who pitched three scoreless innings on Friday night, relieved Triantos and surrendered the grand slam to Schalch and a total of six runs, all earned. Senior southpaw Kyle Smith gave up two runs without getting an out and sophomore right-hander Connor Redmond allowed a pair of RBI singles before freshman lefty Andrew Alvarez secured the final out of the inning.
The loss spoiled the first collegiate start for Triantos (pictured above), who allowed two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Triantos, who underwent Tommy John surgery 15 months ago, made 52 pitches, 35 for strikes, and came out with a 1-0 lead.
The damage had been done, however, though Cal Poly scored single runs in the eighth and ninth. Kyle Marinconz singled up the middle for the run in the eighth and Alex McKenna, hit in the back of the neck just below the skull by a pitch in the eighth inning, singled through the left side of the Pacific infield to cash in the run in the ninth.
Ricky Reynoso (1-0) pitched 6 2/3 innings for the win, allowing a run and three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Ryan Shreve secured the final seven outs.
Cal Poly's seven hits included a single and double by Bradlee Beesley.
For the series, Tate Samuelson, McKenna and Marinconz each had six hits for Cal Poly, Samuelson knocking in six runs. Meyer and Beesley added five hits apiece.
Cal Poly will play another four-game series at Nebraska this weekend. The Huskers are 6-5 after losing two of three games at Wichita State over the weekend.
Photo above of Thomas Triantos courtesy of Alexander Bohlen