CAL POLY NOTES (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (29-20, 10-8 Big West), which has won seven of 12 weekend series, including four sweeps, and is in fourth place in the Big West Conference standings, plays its final non-conference and midweek contest of the 2012 season Tuesday night, visiting CSU Bakersfield (20-25, Independent) for a single game at Hardt Field (cap.: 500).
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN Radio 1280 with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play. An audio stream as well as live stats will be available on www.gopoly.com.
Cal Poly returned 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 jumped to much better 7-1 and 20-10 starts in 2012 with series sweeps against Oklahoma State (3-0), Loyola Marymount (4-0) and UC Irvine (3-0) as well as series wins over Washington (2-1) and San Diego State (3-1). The Mustangs, 7-1 in February, posted a 10-8 record in March, including series losses to Minnesota and Long Beach State, and finished April with an 8-8 mark after sweeping a three-game Big West series at home against Pacific.
Cal Poly opened May with a walk-off 10-inning 2-1 victory over Pepperdine last Tuesday night as Jimmy Allen belted a first-pitch fastball some 390 feet over the left-center field wall with two out, but the Mustangs dropped two of three Big West games at UC Davis before winning two of three last weekend against CSU Bakersfield in Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly won Friday night 6-1 and Saturday night 11-4 before dropping the finale Sunday 6-4.
Larry Lee earned his 300th win as head coach of the Mustangs on May 5 in a 12-7 decision at UC Davis. Lee (302-252-2) surpassed Berdy Harr (297-249-6 from 1973-83) as Cal Poly's winningest head baseball coach during the Pacific series a week earlier. Steve McFarland was 290-257 in 10 seasons (1984-93) at the helm of the Mustangs while Ritch Price was 217-228-1 in Cal Poly's first eight years of play in Division I (1995-2002).
After sweeping UC Irvine on April 5-7 to improve to 20-10 on the year, Cal Poly won just two of its next nine games -- eight of the nine games on the road -- and is 22-19 since its 7-1 start in late February and 9-10 since the sweep over UC Irvine. The Mustangs have been 10 games above the .500 mark twice this season -- at 20-10 and 29-19.
CSU Bakersfield, playing at Nebraska and North Carolina State before visiting Cal Poly last weekend, was swept by the Wolfpack, lost two of three to the Mustangs and has lost 10 of its last 15 games since sweeping Santa Clara at home to level its record at 15-15 in early April.
Cal Poly's top hitter through 49 games is senior shortstop Mike Miller, who went 8-for-13 in the CSU Bakersfield series to improve his batting average to .366. Miller, who has 13 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 30 RBI and 47 runs scored this season, is 28-for-59 (.475) in his last 13 games with nine multiple-hit games, including seven games with three or more hits. He was 5-for-5 against Pacific on April 28.
Sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen sports a .345 average with 13 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 36 RBI and nine stolen bases. Allen has produced a trio of seven-game hitting streaks this season.
Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger is hitting .335 and leads the Mustangs and the Big West with 11 home runs, 53 RBI, a .611 slugging percentage, 113 total bases and six sacrifice flies. He is fourth all-time at Cal Poly in career home runs (24), sixth in career doubles (45) and eighth in career RBI (126).
CSU Bakersfield, coached by Bill Kernen (fourth season at CSU Bakersfield (92-114), 11th overall (332-270-3), Redlands '70), returned 14 lettermen, including six position starters and six pitchers, off a team which went 33-22 a year ago, the school's third season fielding a baseball team.
Top hitters so far in 2012 for the Roadrunners are middle infielder Oscar Sanay (.329, 19 RBI, seven steals), catcher Cael Brockmeyer (.296, 11 doubles, five home runs, 27 RBI) and shortstop Tyler Shryock (.283, 26 RBI). The pitching staff is led by right-handers Spenser Messmore (3-5, 2.44 ERA) and Scott Brattvet (4-5, 4.96 ERA) and southpaw Jeff McKenzie (5-4, 2.31 ERA). The closer is right-hander Hayden Carter (1-3, 5.21 ERA, two saves).
CSU Bakersfield is hitting .261 this season, has compiled a 3.75 staff ERA and has committed 73 errors in 45 games for a .959 fielding percentage.
Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield have met 13 times on the baseball field since the series began in 2009. The Mustangs hold an 8-5 advantage in the series, winning six of the first seven before the Roadrunners swept Cal Poly by scores of 3-1, 10-3 and 3-1 on the final weekend of the 2011 season at Hardt Field. Cal Poly won two of three games last weekend at Baggett Stadium.
Cal Poly is 6-3 against West Coast Conference schools this season, sweeping a four-game series against Loyola Marymount and beating San Francisco 11-9 on March 4 and Pepperdine in 10 innings 2-1 on May 1 while losing twice to Santa Clara 5-2 and 11-6 in the first three weeks of the season.
Cal Poly was ranked No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after its 7-1 start and No. 27 five weeks ago after sweeping UC Irvine.
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.
Cal Poly is 15-1 on Saturday, 5-1 in shutouts, 27-1 when leading after eight innings, 22-5 when outhitting its foes and 18-5 when making fewer errors than the opposition this season. The Mustangs' 12-7 win at UC Davis on May 5 marked the first time Cal Poly won a game in 15 tries this season when trailing after six innings.
Cal Poly wraps up its 2012 home schedule this weekend by hosting UC Santa Barbara for a Big West series Friday through Sunday (6, 1 and 1 p.m.).