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Despite Pair of Late Rallies, Cal Poly Falls Again to Santa Clara, 4-3

Despite Pair of Late Rallies, Cal Poly Falls Again to Santa Clara, 4-3

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — For the first time since 2012, Santa Clara swept its midweek series against Cal Poly.

One week after posting a 10-7 triumph at Stephen Schott Stadium in Santa Clara, the Broncos earned a 4-3 victory over the Mustangs on Tuesday night inside Baggett Stadium.

The loss was Cal Poly's fifth straight since sweeping defending Big West champion Long Beach State, dropping the Mustangs to 19-24 for the season. Santa Clara, which has won four of its last five after a 2-16 midseason slide, improved to 20-22.

Michael Praszker (2-2) allowed a run and four hits over six innings for the win with no walks and five strikeouts. Penn Murfee, who earned the win over Cal Poly with 5 2/3 strong innings in relief last week, picked up his third save despite giving up two runs, four hits and five walks over three innings.

The loss went to sophomore southpaw Thomas Triantos (1-3) as he allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.

Both teams scored a run in a half-hour first inning.

Third baseman Jake Brodt singled through the left side of the Mustang infield for Santa Clara's run in the top of the first and Cal Poly scored on two singles, a wild pitch and Tate Samuelson's groundout to shortstop.

Santa Clara broke the 1-1 deadlock in the third on Matt Smithwick's double down the right-field line and added single runs in the fifth and seventh to build a 4-1 advantage. Jason Dicochea's sacrifice fly to right cashed in the fifth-inning marker and Brodt homered to left field in the seventh, his 12th of the season. He has knocked in 45 runs.

Cal Poly, held scoreless on just two singles from the second through seventh innings, loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Scott Ogrin grounded into a double play.

The Mustangs also loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. After a foul out, Samuelson (pictured above) drove in two runs with a single to right-center field, his 31st and 32nd RBIs of the year. With the potential game-tying run at third base, however, Nick Meyer grounded out to second base, ending the game.

Mustang sophomore right fielder Bradlee Beesley (pictured at left) threw out a pair of Santa Clara baserunners at third base, both in the third inning. Beesley has nine outfield assists on the year.

Cal Poly's eight hits included two singles each by Kyle Marinconz and Josh George. Beesley added a double.

Santa Clara collected 11 hits, including three each by Brodt and Smithwick.

Cal Poly, which has played five consecutive non-conference games, losing all of them, returns to Big West play this weekend with a three-game series at Hawai'i.

The Mustangs are tied for fourth place with UC Santa Barbara, both 6-6 and a half-game behind second-place UC Irvine and Hawai'i (both 8-7). Cal State Fullerton leads with a 9-3 mark, three games ahead of Cal Poly with 12 games remaining for each team.

Photos courtesy of Alexander Bohlen