Cal Poly Baseball Hosts Santa Clara in Early Season Matchup of Unbeatens
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (3-0, 0-0 Big West) and Santa Clara (3-0, 0-0 West Coast), a pair of teams off to quick 3-0 starts in 2012, play an early season non-conference showdown of unbeaten teams Tuesday night in Baggett Stadium (cap.: 1,734).
First pitch for the single contest is set for 6 p.m. ESPN Radio 1280 will broadcast the game with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play. The game also will be available via audio and video streams as well as live stats on the Internet at www.gopoly.com.
Cal Poly returns 16 letter winners, including five position starters and five pitchers, off its 2011 squad which finished 27-26 overall and third in the Big West at 15-9. The Mustangs started the year 0-6 before winning 27 of their next 44 games.
Cal Poly is off to a much better start in 2012, sweeping Big 12 Conference member and perennial NCAA regional qualifier Oklahoma State by scores of 6-0, 11-3 and 6-0 in Baggett Stadium.
Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs hit .284 against the Cowboys, produced a .397 on-base percentage and stole four of four bases while the pitching staff -- led by starters Joey Wagman and Kyle Brueggemann (pictured at right) and relievers Kyle Anderson, Nick Grim and Chase Johnson -- compiled a stingy 0.67 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only five walks. The Mustangs outscored the Cowboys 23-3.
For the series, sophomore catcher Chris Hoo was 3-for-6 while sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen was 4-for-12 and freshman right fielder Nick Torres 3-for-9. Senior shortstop Mike Miller was 4-for-14 with two doubles, a triple and four RBI.
Santa Clara opened its 2012 season by winning each of its three games in the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Texas State in San Marcos, Texas ... Santa Clara beat Texas State 5-4 in 13 innings, Wichita State 7-1 in 12 innings and Louisiana-Lafayette 8-5.
Tuesday's pitching matchup features Cal Poly freshman right-hander Danny Zandona against Santa Clara sophomore southpaw Powell Fansler. Zandona did not pitch against Oklahoma State while Fansler picked up the win in relief against Wichita State on Saturday, allowing no runs and four hits in three innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Santa Clara, coached by Dan O'Brien (first season at Santa Clara (3-0), 15th season overall (457-283-1), UC San Diego '95), returns 15 lettermen, including six position starters and nine pitchers, off a team which went 17-34 a year ago and finished eighth in the West Coast Conference under Mark O'Brien (no relation).
Top returnees are outfielder Lucas Herbst (.289, 28 RBI in 2011), infielder Kyle DeMerritt (.280, 27 RBI in 2011) and outfielder Matt Ozanne (.262, 10 stolen bases, 22 RBI in 2011). Santa Clara's pitching staff is paced by right-handers Chris Mendoza (3-6, 5.62 ERA in 2011) and Brock Simon (3-8, 6.28 ERA in 2011) and Fansler (3-2, 6.12 ERA in 2011).
Santa Clara hit .234 in the tournament at Texas State with eight doubles, compiled a 2.38 staff ERA and committed just two errors in three games for a .986 fielding percentage. Herbst went 6-for-14 in the tournament while outfielder Stephen Takahashi was 2-for-6 and outfielder Pat Stover 5-for-16.
Cal Poly and Santa Clara have played 73 times against each other on the baseball diamond and the Broncos own a 39-34 advantage in the all-time series dating back to 1956.
Cal Poly defeated the Broncos 7-2 on April 12, 2011, at Stephen Schott Stadium. The rematch at Baggett Stadium on May 17, 2011, was rained out. The Mustangs and Broncos did not play in 2010. Cal Poly is 12-13 against Santa Clara since the Mustangs moved to Division I prior to the 1995 season.
A year ago Cal Poly posted its sixth winning season in the last eight years, and a third-place finish in the highly competitive Big West Conference at 15-9. The Mustangs have finished in the upper half of the league standings eight times in the last 10 years.
Cal Poly was 7-4 against top-25 teams in 2011 and finished 19-7 at home.
Following Tuesday's game, Cal Poly will hit the road for a four-game weekend series at Loyola Marymount. Friday's game begins at 2 p.m., followed by a 10 a.m. doubleheader Saturday and a 1 p.m. series finale Sunday.