SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – After Sacramento State pushed across a run in its first at-bat of the game Cal Poly scored five unanswered runs and was able to complete a 6-2 win on Thursday night in San Luis Obispo.
Returning to the site of its first Div. I NCAA Regional appearance last May, Sacramento State (8-7) dropped the series opener after being eliminated by the Mustangs from the regional last season. Cal Poly (5-9), which opened the season ranked as high as No. 13 in the nation, won just its second home game of the year.
Hornet sophomore Justin Dillon made his first start of the year and was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs in five innings of work. Cal Poly freshman ace Andrew Bernstein continued his superb rookie season allowing seven hits and three walks but just two runs over 6.1 innings to improve to 3-1.
The Hornets got on the board quickly in the top of the first as one-out singles from senior Scotty Burcham and junior Nathan Lukes put runners on the corners with one away. Junior Chris Lewis beat out a potential double play ball as Lukes was cut down at second but Burcham scored on a fielder's choice.
In the bottom of the first Dillon struck out Mark Mathias to start the inning but the Mustang leadoff hitter reached on a wild pitch and later scored on a one-out single. The Mustangs moved to a 2-1 lead in the third on a one-out RBI double from Mathias.
In the fourth inning Cal Poly got a lead-off triple from Peter Van Gansen followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Zach Zehner to put the home team ahead 4-1. Another Mustang run scored in the sixth on a leadoff single from Van Gansen and an eventual sacrifice fly off the bat of John Schuknecht.
Sacramento State got one run back in the seventh inning as, with runners on the corners and two out, senior Kyle Moses stole home and freshman PJ Floyd took second. Just like the first inning, the Mustangs quickly got that run back on a leadoff double, a balk to move the runner to third, and a safety squeeze bunt scored Tommy Pluschkell to give Cal Poly its 6-2 win.
Mathias and Van Gansen each went 3-for-4 at the top of the Mustang order as four hitters accounted for all nine of the team's hits. After Bernstein went 6.1 innings Danny Zandona pitched the final 2.2 and allowed just one hit to earn his second save of the year.
The Hornets also used just two pitchers as junior Tyler Beardsley went the last three innings. Both Dillon and Beardsley did not issue a walk with Dillon striking out six and Beardsley recording one strikeout. Floyd, Burcham, and Lukes each had two hits at the top of the Hornet order as the visitors totaled eight hits but all of them were singles.
The normal weekend rotation for Sacramento State will pitch the last three games of the series, with senior ace Brennan Leitao getting the ball tomorrow to face Cal Poly junior Casey Bloomquist in game two of the series at 6 p.m.