LONG BEACH, Calif. – Despite a 13-hit offensive attack, Cal Poly lost a Big West Conference baseball series for the first time this season, falling 5-2 to first-place and No. 8-ranked Long Beach State on Sunday at Blair Field.
In losing the series, two games to one, Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs fall to 21-25 for the year and 9-6 in conference games. Long Beach State is 30-15-1 for the season and 15-3 in Big West contests. The Dirtbags are 3.5 games ahead of second-place Cal State Fullerton (10-5), which defeated Hawai'i 6-2, and 4.5 ahead of the third-place Mustangs.
Five Mustang batters collected at least two hits each, but Cal Poly made some miscues on the basepaths and stranded eight runners on base. One runner was picked off first base, another caught in a rundown between first and second on a busted hit-and-run play, a third was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple and the fourth was cut down at the plate on a failed safety squeeze bunt.
Despite giving up 11 hits, senior right-hander Dave Smith (6-1) allowed just two runs over five innings for the win and Tyler Radcliffe, a graduate of nearby Wilson High School, located just across the street from Blair Field, pitched three scoreless innings of one-hit baseball before Chris Rivera tossed a one-hit ninth for his seventh save.
The loss went to Cal Poly starter Bobby Ay (1-5) as he allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits in two-plus innings. Slater Lee (3 2/3 innings) (pictured above) and Michael Clark (2 1/3 innings) also pitched for the Mustangs.
Cal Poly was held to single runs in the third and fourth innings. Alex McKenna singled and Bradlee Beesley doubled to tally the run in the third. Consecutive two-out singles by Josh George, Kevin Morgan and Scott Ogrin plated the run in the fourth.
Long Beach State scored twice in the third inning to snap a 1-1 tie and never looked back. Ramsey Romano singled to knock in the two runs and David Banuelos helped the Dirtbags extend their lead with a pair of RBI singles.
Morgan produced a double and two singles to lead Cal Poly offensively. George, McKenna, Beesley and Kyle Marinconz each had two hits.
Banuelos, Brock Lundquist and Daniel Jackson had two hits apiece for Long Beach State.
Cal Poly last won a series at Blair Field in 2009.
Cal Poly visits Pepperdine for a non-conference single game Tuesday at 3 p.m. before returning home to host CSUN for a three-game Big West series Friday through Sunday inside Baggett Stadium.