SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior center fielder Bradlee Beesley knocked in a pair of runs and sophomore right-hander Taylor Dollard returned from a four-week layoff to earn his first win of the season as Cal Poly clinched its Big West Conference baseball series against CSUN with a 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon inside Baggett Stadium.
Beesley doubled to left field in the third inning, tying the game at 1-1, and his fielder's choice grounder to shortstop netted an insurance run for the Mustangs in the seventh.
Dollard (pictured above), sidelined almost a month due to soreness in his pitching arm, pitched three scoreless, hitless innings for win No. 1, walking one and striking out five, including the first four batters he faced.
Michael Clark, who tossed 3 2/3 innings for his fourth save in Friday night's 2-1 triumph, retired the side in order in the ninth Saturday for save No. 5, striking out two.
With the win, Cal Poly improves to 11-13 for the year and 2-0 in Big West games. The Mustangs have won nine of their last 13 games after a 2-9 start. CSUN fell to 12-15 and 0-2.
Mustang starter Bobby Ay, bidding for his third win in as many starts, labored through four-plus innings Saturday, scattering seven hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. He allowed just one run, lowering his ERA to 2.97.
Dollard restored some order facing just one batter over the minimum in his three-inning stint on the mound. Dylan Villalobos allowed a hit but nothing else in the eighth, setting the stage for Clark's save opportunity in the ninth.
The loss went to CSUN lefty Isaiah Nunez (4-3) as he allowed two runs (one earned) and seven hits over five-plus innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Blake Schriever pitched the final three frames for the Matadors, giving up a run and two hits with one walk and a strikeout.
Similar to Friday's game, CSUN struck first before Cal Poly scored single runs in the third and fourth for a 2-1 lead. This time, the Mustangs also scored in the seventh for their 3-1 advantage.
CSUN had a 1-0 lead three batters into the game. With one out, Brandon Bohning singled to center field and scored on Kyle Barret's double down the right-field line.
In the Mustang third, Myles Emmerson reached on a Matador throwing error and Dylan Doherty's bunt single in front of the plate put runners at first and second with nobody out. Two outs later, Beesley's double tied the game at 1-1.
Cal Poly grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Conagher Sands belted a pinch-hit leadoff triple off the wall and glove of CSUN center fielder Robert Bullard and came home on Taylor's sacrifice fly to center.
In the seventh, Connor Gurnik reached second base on a single and fielding error. Elijah Greene singled to put runners at first and third and Gurnik tallied the insurance run on Beesley's grounder to shortstop. Beesley leads the Mustangs with 17 RBI.
Cal Poly's nine hits included two each by Gurnik and Greene. Doherty added a single and is 5-for-11 in his last six games to lift his average from .088 to .200.
Bohning and Barret both had two of CSUN's eight hits.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Darren Nelson (1-4, 3.54 ERA) to face CSUN senior righty Blake Sodersten (0-1, 4.70 ERA).
Photo above of Taylor Dollard courtesy of Andrew Baird