NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – CSUN wiped out a 1-0 deficit with four runs in the sixth inning and went on to defeat Cal Poly 5-3 in the Big West Conference baseball opener for both schools Thursday afternoon at Matador Field.
Cal Poly failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities, stranding eight runners on the basepaths in the first four innings, and also wasted a strong pitching performance by junior right-hander Jarred Zill, who tossed five scoreless frames with seven strikeouts.
With the loss, Cal Poly falls to 11-13 for the year and 0-1 in Big West games. CSUN, which had lost 10 of 11 games and snapped a seven-game losing streak Tuesday with a win over CSU Bakersfield, improved to 11-14 and 1-0.
Cal Poly loaded the bases in the first inning with nobody out and settled for just one run on a force play at third base. The Mustangs also left two runners on base in the second inning, a runner at second in the third and loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, only to be turned away.
Despite the offensive woes, Cal Poly still led 1-0 after five innings as Zill scattered three hits and walked one. Making his third start of the season 12 months after Tommy John surgery and working on a pitch count, Zill gave way to Michael Clark in the sixth inning.
Zill (pictured at right) had to settle for his third no-decision of the year as Clark surrendered four runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth. CSUN loaded the bases with a double and two singles, then four runs scored on RBI singles by Brandon Bohning and Alvaro Rubalcaba, a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.
Cal Poly scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, both on RBI doubles by Bradlee Beesley and Dylan Doherty, respectively, but Cassius Hamm retired the Mustangs in order in the ninth for his second save.
Catcher Trevor Casanova improved his Big West-leading average to .394 with a double and two singles. Nolan Bumstead and Kevin Riley each added two hits.
Jayson Newman (1-1), the second of four CSUN pitchers used in the game, earned the victory with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of work, striking out four.
Second game of the series will be played Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. with sophomore southpaw Thomas Triantos (1-2, 4.87 ERA) on the mound for Cal Poly.