FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton put up a six-spot in the third inning and held off a late Cal Poly rally for a 6-3 victory Sunday, completing a three-game Big West Conference baseball series sweep at Goodwin Field.
Andrew Quezada (1-3), who at one time retired 15 Mustang batters in a row, worked into the eighth inning for his first win of the season. Dillon Brown secured five outs and Brett Conine notched a strikeout for his seventh save.
With the win, Cal State Fullerton completed a 5-0 week and climbed to the .500 mark for the first time this season at 15-15. The Titans are 4-2 in Big West games, tied for first place with Hawai'i and CSUN.
Swept for the first time this season, Cal Poly fell to 13-17 and 1-5 in the Big West.
Trailing 6-0, Cal Poly scored twice in the seventh on a two-run home run by freshman first baseman Tate Samuelson (pictured above), his second of the series and fourth of the season.
The Mustangs trimmed the deficit to 6-3 in the eighth as junior center fielder Alex McKenna hit his third homer of the year, a solo shot leading off the frame. Junior shortstop Kyle Marinconz chased Quezada with a single, but Brown secured three groundouts to end the threat.
Quezada struck out a season-high nine in seven-plus innings of work, allowing no walks and seven hits. Brown retired five of the six Mustang batters he faced and Conine struck out the lone batter he faced in the ninth.
The loss went to Mustang freshman right-hander Darren Nelson (3-3) as he surrendered all six runs in the third inning along with five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Andrew Alvares, Taylor Dollard, Kyle Smith and Austin Dondanville also pitched for Cal Poly.
Highlighting Cal State Fullerton's third-inning rally were two-run singles by Daniel Cope and Jairus Richards along with RBI singles by Hank LoForte and Jace Chamberlin.
The Titans' nine hits included two singles by Chamberlain and a double by Jordan Hernandez.
McKenna had two of Cal Poly's seven hits and Nick Meyer added a double.
For the series, McKenna was 5-for-12 with a triple, home run and three RBI. Samuelson and Scott Ogrin each added three hits.
Cal Poly struck out 32 times -- 10 each on Friday and Sunday and a season-high 12 on Saturday -- and hit just .202 for the series, including a .136 mark (3-for-22) with runners in scoring position.
Cal Poly visits CSU Bakersfield (10-20) on Tuesday night. The Roadrunners lost all three games of their Western Athletic Conference series against New Mexico State over the weekend.
Following Tuesday's game, the Mustangs will play 18 of their next 23 games inside Baggett Stadium, beginning Friday night with the first of three Big West games against UC Davis.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Pluim