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Santa Clara Edges Cal Poly, 7-6, on Safety Squeeze Bunt in 10th Inning

Santa Clara Edges Cal Poly, 7-6, on Safety Squeeze Bunt in 10th Inning

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Blake Faddoul's safety squeeze bunt scored Connor Henriques with the winning run in the 10th inning as Santa Clara defeated Cal Poly 7-6 in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday night inside Baggett Stadium.

Cal Poly had rallied from a 6-2 deficit with four runs in the eighth inning, but could not earn its first win in 13 tries when trailing after seven innings, leaving a runner at first base in the ninth and at first and second in the bottom of the 10th.

The loss dropped Cal Poly to 12-14 for the season while Santa Clara, 1-9 on the road entering Tuesday's game and loser of 16 of its last 17 contests, improved to 5-21.

Keegan McCarville, a weekend starter making his first relief appearance of the year, secured five outs for his third win in seven decisions while Alex Reelfs tossed a scoreless 10th for his first save.

The loss went to Thomas Triantos (0-1) , the fifth of six Cal Poly pitchers used in the game. Craig Colen (pictured above), making his first appearance on the mound since May of 2017, gave up a run and two hits over three innings in his third career start as a Mustang.

Middle infielder Connor Gurnik produced his first four-hit game as a Mustang in a 4-for-6 night at the plate. He tripled opening the bottom of the first inning, but was the first of 14 Cal Poly runners stranded on the base paths in the game. 

Catcher John Mackay (pictured at left) erased an early 1-0 Mustang deficit with a second-inning home run down the left-field line, his second career homer – he also hit one out at CSU Bakersfield in April 2018 – and Cal Poly's second home run in 26 games this season.

Santa Clara tallied three runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh for a 6-2 advantage.

In the Mustang eighth, Gurnik drove in one run with a bases-loaded single, a Santa Clara error made it 6-4 and Tate Samuelson singled up the middle to knock in two more runs and tie the game at 6-6.

Henriques led off the Bronco 10th with a double to right field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and, after reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week Michael Clark relieved Triantos, came home on the squeeze bunt by Faddoul, sliding around the tag at the plate.

Elijah Greene singled with one out in the bottom of the 10th and, after a wild pitch put Beesley at second, Samuelson was intentionally walked with two outs. Cole Cabrera's comebacker, however, ended the game.

In addition to Gurnik's four hits, Samuelson and Conagher Sands each added two singles as Cal Poly outhit Santa Clara 12-9.

Henriques, Ryan McCarthy and Gavin Maloney all had two hits for the Broncos.

Cal Poly, No. 9 in the Big West in fielding percentage, committed four errors in the game, resulting in three unearned runs for Santa Clara.

Cal Poly hosts defending Big West Conference champion Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series this weekend. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 8 o'clock Saturday night (ESPNU) and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Owen Main | www.fansmanship.com