Radeke Leads Cal Poly to 4-1 Victory in Big West Opener
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Mason Radeke missed his first collegiate complete game by one out, scattering four hits over 8 2/3 innings, as Cal Poly opened Big West Conference baseball play with a 4-1 victory over UC Riverside before 1,041 Friday night in Baggett Stadium.
Radeke (3-1), who threw a career-high 141 pitches, struck out seven and walked four, lowering his ERA to 2.54, Closer Jeff Johnson earned his third save by securing the final out with a strikeout, but not before issuing his first walk of the season.
The win improved Cal Poly to 9-12 overall and 1-0 in Big West games. UC Riverside, which has beaten Cal Poly twice in three-game series each of the last four years, fell to 10-10 for the season and 0-1 in conference play.
Radeke (pictured above), who threw 63 pitches in three innings five days earlier against Minnesota, struggled early Friday night, falling behind on 2-1 and 3-1 counts on numerous occasions in the first three innings.
But after surrendering a one-out RBI single to Eddie Young in the third, Radeke slammed the door on the Highlanders the rest of the way, allowing just one more hit – a two-out single to Dan Pellegrino in the ninth. The junior right-hander retired eight in a row after the third-inning single and also retired seven straight Highlanders before giving up the single to Pellegrino in the ninth.
After the single by Pellegrino, Radeke also walked Trevor Hairgrove, putting UC Riverside runners at first and second base with two outs in the ninth and bringing the potential-game-winning run to the plate.
Johnson relieved Radeke at that point and issued his first walk of the season to pinch-hitter Kyle Boudreau on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases. But Phil Holinsworth, the No. 9 batter in the Highlanders order, was Johnson's 20th strikeout victim of the season on a check swing, ending the game.
Cal Poly rallied from the early 1-0 deficit with a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
Shortstop J.J. Thompson's two-out single up the middle in the sixth inning tied the game at 1-1.
In the seventh, the Mustangs loaded the bases with one out on a double by Jimmy Allen and two walks. Allen scored on a passed ball to break the 1-1 deadlock and, after DJ Gentile drew a walk to reload the bases, shortstop Mike Miller, who missed the last six games with a wrist injury, slashed a single to right field, scoring two to give Cal Poly a 4-1 lead.
Cal Poly had loaded the bases with one out in the third inning, but a fly ball to right field and a strikeout ended the threat, dropping the Mustangs' batting average with the sacks filled this season to .091 (2-for-22) prior to Miller's two-run single in the seventh.
Cal Poly outhit UC Riverside 7-4, led by Thompson's two singles which lifted his average to .316 for the season. Thompson has six two-hit games in his last 10 starts to lift his average 158 points.
Allen also had two hits, including the double, while center fielder Bobby Crocker extended his hitting streak to seven games with a third-inning bunt single and is hitting .338 with 12 hits in his last 27 at-bats, lifting his average 55 points over the last two weeks.
Young had two of the Highlanders' four hits and Holinsworth added a double.
The loss went to UC Riverside junior right-hander Matt Andriese (0-3), who allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Highlanders, who had committed 17 errors in 19 games for a Big West-leading .977 fielding percentage, committed three errors Friday night. One of Cal Poly's runs was unearned..
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 in Baggett Stadium with Cal Poly to send senior right-hander Steven Fischback (2-1, 4.78 ERA) to the mound against UC Riverside senior right-hander Matt Larkins (3-1, 3.04 ERA).
The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock.