SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — After squandering a 6-0 lead, San Diego State scored three times in the seventh inning to snap a 6-6 tie and held on to beat Cal Poly 9-7 in the opener of a three-game non-conference baseball series Friday night inside Baggett Stadium.
Chad Bible's RBI single broke the deadlock and Jordan Verdon's second two-run double of the game added two insurance runs for the Aztecs, who improved to 12-5 with the win.
Cal Poly fell to 7-11.
Each team used five pitchers in the game. The win went to Jorge Fernandez (3-1), the fourth Aztec pitcher, while Jacob Flores pitched the ninth for his first save. Sophomore southpaw Thomas Triantos (0-2), who gave up the first two runs in the seventh, took the loss.
Despite the loss, Cal Poly outhit San Diego State 13-11. Sophomore designated hitter Myles Emmerson went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to lift his average to .458 while junior second baseman Kyle Marinconz, sophomore right fielder Bradlee Beesley, junior catcher Nick Meyer and sophomore third baseman Dylan Doherty each had two hits.
Freshman left fielder Matt Rudick produced a triple and two singles for San Diego State, lifting his average to .444. Bible, Verdon and Julian Escobedo added two hits apiece.
After San Diego State built its 6-0 lead with three runs in the first inning, one in the second and two in the fifth, Cal Poly mounted its comeback with a run in the fifth as Meyer tripled and Emmerson singled him home.
The Mustangs caught the Aztecs in the sixth with five runs. Meyer and Emmerson singled to knock in the first two runs, Colby Barrick drew a bases-loaded walk, Scott Ogrin pushed the fourth run across while grounding into a double play and Doherty's single to right tied the game at 6-6.
After San Diego State tallied three runs in the seventh to retake the lead, Cal Poly got one run back on a sacrifice fly by Josh George in the eighth, but left two runners on base. Marinconz singled to open the ninth, but two fly balls to right field and a strikeout ended the game.
The game marked the 2018 debut of Cal Poly junior right-hander Jarred Zill. Twelve months after Tommy John surgery, Zill allowed four runs (one earned) and five hits over four innings with two walks and one strikeout.
San Diego State's run in the second inning counted despite an inning-ending double play. With one out, Rudick at third and David Hensley at first, Chase Calabuig lined out to right field for the second out. Hensley was going on the pitch and was doubled off first base, but Rudick crossed home plate before the out was recorded at first base.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with senior southpaw Trent Shelton (1-2, 2.45 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.
Photo courtesy of Alexander Bohlen