DAVIS, Calif. – Alex McKenna and Michael Sanderson banged out three hits apiece and Erich Uelmen earned his first win since the season opener nine weeks ago as Cal Poly opened its Big West Conference baseball series at UC Davis with a 4-1 victory Thursday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.
All six hits by McKenna and Sanderson were singles – Sanderson driving in one run – for the Mustangs, who extended their winning streak to four games and improved to 14-18 overall and 5-2 in Big West games.
UC Davis suffered its fifth straight loss, falling to 9-18 and 2-5.
Uelmen (2-5), who earned his first win of the year Feb. 18 at Cal, suffered five losses and two no-decisions over his next seven starts before notching the win Thursday. He had received little run support in most of those seven starts, including three shutouts.
On Thursday, Uelmen was supported by four runs – one in the fourth and three in the fifth – and made them stand up for the win as the junior right-hander allowed one run and five hits over six innings, throwing 100 pitches on five days rest, with two walks and five strikeouts.
Sophomore righty Michael Clark tossed the final three frames in scoreless fashion for his fourth save, allowing no hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
After three scoreless innings, Cal Poly scored the first run of the game in the fourth. Sanderson singled and eventually came home (pictured above) on Josh George's RBI single to center field.
The Mustangs added three more runs in the fifth on just one hit, taking advantage of three walks and a pair of wild pitches thrown by UC Davis starter and losing pitcher Robert Garcia (1-3).
Another single by Sanderson drove in the first run and the two wild pitches accounted for the other runs and a 4-0 Mustang lead.
UC Davis averted a shutout in the sixth as Ryan Anderson led off with a double and came home on a one-out single by Ignacio Diaz.
McKenna and Sanderson paced Cal Poly's fourth straight double-digit game in hits (12) with three hits each. Bradlee Beesley added a double, Cal Poly's lone extra-base hit of the game.
McKenna has produced four consecutive three-hit games and is 18-for-34 (.529) over his last seven contests to lift his average 57 points to .366. Sanderson is 30-for-77 (.390) over his last 18 games to bump his average up 113 points to .353.
UC Davis's five hits were by five different players.
Second game of the series will be played Friday night at Raley Field in West Sacramento, home of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Sacramento River Cats. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. with sophomore right-hander Spencer Howard (2-0, 1.83 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.