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Cal Poly Rallies to Beat CSU Bakersfield 9-7 in Home Opener

Cal Poly Rallies to Beat CSU Bakersfield 9-7 in Home Opener


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly overcame a 5-0 deficit in its home opener and defeated Central California rival CSU Bakersfield 9-7 in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday night inside Baggett Stadium.

Junior outfielder Josh George tied the game with a two-run single in the seventh inning and freshman designated hitter Bradlee Beesley snapped the tie by scoring on a wild pitch as the Mustangs improved to 3-9 on the year.

CSU Bakersfield, despite outhitting Cal Poly 10-9, fell to 8-4.

The visiting Roadrunners took advantage of three Mustang errors for five runs in the fourth inning. Ryan Grotjohn tripled to drive in two and Max Carter singled for another run.

Cal Poly chipped away at the five-run deficit, scoring a run in the fourth on an RBI single by second baseman Kyle Marinconz and two more in the fifth on run-scoring singles by third baseman Michael Sanderson and George.

CSU Bakersfield committed three errors in the seventh as Cal Poly turned the game around with a six-run rally. After George (pictured above) tied the game with his two-run single and Beesley came home on a wild pitch to give the Mustangs the lead, George scored on another wild pitch, Nick Meyer's sacrifice fly plated the fifth run of the inning and Marinconz scored from second base on a wild pickoff throw.

George drove in three runs with two singles for Cal Poly. Center fielder Alex McKenna and first baseman Elijah Skipps added doubles.

Carter, Mark Pena and Cole Valletta all had two hits each for CSU Bakersfield.

Mustang starter Trent Shelton retired the first nine Roadunner batters of the game before the junior southpaw ran into trouble in the fourth. The win went to sophomore right-hander Craig Colen (1-0) (pictured at right) as he pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with one strikeout. Senior right-hander Slater Lee secured the final two outs for his first save.

The loss went to Kenny Johnson (0-1), the third of four CSU Bakersfield pitchers used in the game, as he allowed six runs (four earned) without getting an out in the sixth inning.

The Mustangs compiled several firsts Tuesday night. Skipps' double was the first in 11 at-bats by pinch-hitters this year; Cal Poly won for the first time when trailing after six innings; and the Mustangs won for the first time in a game in which the opposition scored first.

Cal Poly, which played its first 11 games on the road, continues a 12-game home stand this weekend with a three-game series against Loyola Marymount. Game times are Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 o'clock.

The Lions fell to 6-7 Tuesday night with a 7-6 loss at home to UC Irvine. The Anteaters scored three times in the ninth to overcome a 6-4 deficit and Loyola Marymount left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Photo of hitter Josh George courtesy of Matt Aguirre
Photo of pitcher Craig Colen courtesy of Jack Duffy