SEATTLE, Wash. – The Cal Poly baseball team held a 90-minute workout Thursday night inside Husky Ballpark following its two-hour flight from San Luis Obispo.
Coach Larry Lee's Mustangs take a 2-6 record into Friday's series opener against Washington (4-2), which has been moved up to a 4:05 p.m. start to avoid chilly nighttime temperatures. It was 39 degrees when practice ended at 7:30 p.m.
Husky Ballpark is quite different from the last time Cal Poly played Washington, a series won by the Mustangs, two games to one, in 2013. Ironically, this weekend's series will be held on the exact same dates as the last set between the clubs six years ago, March 1-2-3.
A $15 million renovation of the baseball stadium was completed in time for the 2014 season and included seating for 2,200, a permanent entrance and façade, views of Lake Washington, videoboard, new field turf and press box, restrooms, concessions and a team store.
With the series win in 2013, Cal Poly enjoys a 15-7 advantage in its series against the Huskies, who are scheduled to visit Baggett Stadium in 2021.
Cal Poly will use the same weekend rotation head coach Larry Lee has used in the first two weeks of the season. Jarred Zill (0-2, 4.35 ERA), Bobby Ay (0-0, 6.00 ERA) and Darren Nelson (0-1, 0.77 ERA), all right-handers, will toe the rubber for first pitches Friday through Sunday, respectively.
Washington will counter with a trio of right-handers as well – David Rhodes (2-0, 1.29 ERA) on Friday, Jordan Jones (0-1, 1.46 ERA) on Saturday and Josh Burgmann (1-0, 1.50 ERA) on Sunday.
While Cal Poly was swept by Oklahoma and Cal in its first two weekend series of the season, Washington lost two of three games at UC Irvine before sweeping Northern Colorado last weekend in a series moved to Phoenix due to weather conditions in the Seattle area.
Struggling in most facets of the game, Cal Poly managed to earn a pair of midweek wins over Central California and future Big West Conference member CSU Bakersfield by 7-1 and 2-0 scores.
The Mustangs are hitting just .242 as a team and have committed 15 errors in eight games – playing their first errorless contest of the season in the win over the Roadrunners on Tuesday.
Relief pitchers surrendered late leads in two of the Mustangs' losses to Cal and the opposition has scored 24 of their 39 runs in the final four innings.
In addition, Cal Poly has yet to produce a triple or a home run and has stolen just three of six bases.
Washington, a College World Series participant for the first time in 2018, counters with a .309 team batting average, a 3.94 staff ERA, 10 steals in 11 attempts and a .974 fielding percentage with just five errors in six games.
The Huskies have 23 returning lettermen off last year's 35-26 squad which finished second in the Pac-12 with a 20-10 mark, along with 10 newcomers.
Saturday's contest begins at 2:05 p.m., with Sunday's series finale set for a 1 o'clock start. All three games will be carried live on ESPN Radio 1280 AM and 101.7 FM.
Bradlee Beesley's season-opening seven-game hitting streak came to an end Tuesday but fellow outfielder Elijah Greene has hit safely in his last seven contests … Beesley was 7-for-12 in the Oklahoma series, 6-for-13 against Cal and brings a .455 average into Friday's game … temperature for the series is forecasted to be in the mid-40s each day with light winds and mostly clear skies ... Cal Poly pitchers have given up 50 hits, the fewest in the Big West, and the .230 opponents' batting average is second-lowest in the conference … Elijah Greene is the toughest to strike out in the nation and Big West as the sophomore transfer from Mt. San Antonio College has yet to strike out in 37 plate appearances … former Mustang pitcher Bud Norris, who turns 34 Saturday, signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday; he had 28 saves in 33 opportunities and a 3.59 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals last year; Norris has pitched for seven Major League clubs over 10 seasons.