SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Former Cal Poly second baseman Mark Mathias has overcome a slow professional start with a pair of recent surges at the plate for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League.
Hitting just .107 in his first seven games, Mathias (pictured at right) now owns a .270 batting average, going 8-for-18 (.444) during a four-game stretch July 8-12 and 10-for-18 (.556) in his last four games (through Tuesday night).
Meanwhile, third baseman Brent Morel, hitting .364 over his last 20 games at Indianapolis, was promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 20, replacing Jordy Mercer, who will be sidelined about six weeks with an MCL strain.
Morel has played 217 Major League games over the past five years -- 194 with the Chicago White Sox from 2010-13 and 23 with the Pirates a year ago.
Morel's promotion gives Cal Poly three players currently in the Major Leagues. The other two are pitchers Bud Norris with the Baltimore Orioles and Casey Fien with the Minnesota Twins. Pitcher Kevin Correia was designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 7 and is on the reserve roster for Lehigh Valley.
Two other former Mustangs are playing Triple-A ball -- Logan Schafer with the Colorado Sky Sox and Mike Miller with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Currently sporting batting averages above the .270 mark are Jimmy Allen (.275) with the Great Lakes Loons, Mitch Haniger (.352) with the Visalia Rawhide, Brian Mundell (.297) with the Boise Hawks, Nick Torres (.324) with the Lake Elsinore Storm and Peter Van Gansen (.296) with the Tri-City Dust Devils.
Pitcher Chase Johnson, who was selected to play in the Carolina-California All-Star Game, sports a 6-3 record and 2.87 ERA for the San Jose Giants while Casey Bloomquist made his professional debut July 15 for the Arizona League Cubs, striking out two in one perfect inning of work against the AZL Royals.
For updates on all former Cal Poly players in the pro ranks this season, click the link at the top of this story.