NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – First baseman Kevin Riley belted a pair of two-run home runs as CSUN overcame 5-2 and 7-6 deficits to beat Cal Poly 10-7 in the second game of a Big West Conference baseball series Friday afternoon at Matador Field.
Riley's first blast in the third inning trimmed Cal Poly's lead to 5-4 and his second round-tripper gave CSUN the lead for good at 8-7 in the seventh inning.
With the win, CSUN clinches the three-game series – claiming the opener Thursday 5-3 – and improves to 12-14 for the season. Cal Poly falls to 11-14.
While CSUN is off to a 2-0 start in Big West games for the first time since joining the conference in 2002, the Mustangs have dropped their first two conference games for the first time since 2009 when Cal Poly was swept by UC Irvine. The Mustangs, however, went on to earn their first NCAA regional berth that year.
Cal Poly overcame a 2-0 deficit with a five-run third-inning uprising. The bottom three in the batting order loaded the bases with two singles and a walk with nobody out and Alex McKenna knocked in the first run with a grounder to third. Kyle Marinconz singled for the second run, Bradlee Beesley doubled for the third run and Colby Barrick capped the rally with a two-run single.
After CSUN regained the lead with two runs in both the third and fourth innings, Marinconz led off the fifth with his fourth home run of the year, tying the game at 6-6. Cal Poly added another run in the inning on two singles and a CSUN error for a 7-6 lead.
The Matadors used Riley's second home run of the game and third of the season in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead at 8-7 and CSUN added two more runs in the eighth on a solo home run by Joey Cooper and an RBI single by Justin Toerner.
For the second time in the series, Cal Poly outhit CSUN 12-10. Marinconz (pictured above), Beesley, Josh George and Dylan Doherty all collected two hits for the Mustangs. Riley was 4-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored for CSUN.
Junior right-hander Michael Clark (1-3) suffered the loss for the second straight game. One day after giving up four runs and four hits in a third of an inning Thursday, Clark surrendered Riley's second home run Friday.
Blake Schriever (2-0) earned the victory, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Cassius Hamm picked up his second save of the series and third of the season.
Cal Poly hit into three double plays (36 for the season) and committed two errors, its 39th and 40th of the year.
Final game of the series will be played Saturday at 1 o'clock with freshman right-hander Darren Nelson (3-2, 2.40 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.