Two days after throwing four innings in the opener, Michael Clark pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief for his fourth win – second of the series — and Elijah Greene drove in the winning run in the final game of a series for the second straight weekend as Cal Poly completed a sweep of its three-game set at Long Beach State with a 5-4 victory Saturday afternoon at Blair Field.
Clark (4-1) did not allow a run, scattered five hits and struck out six before leaving the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Southpaw Andrew Alvarez came out of the bullpen to strike out the only batter he faced, then righty Taylor Dollard was summoned to get the final two outs and did so with strikeouts for his first save.
With the win, Cal Poly swept a Big West series at Blair Field for the first time since 1997, earned its sixth straight win, was victorious for the 17th time in its last 25 games after a 2-9 start, improved to 19-17 for the season and maintained its half-game lead over UC Santa Barbara in the conference standings at 10-2.
The Gauchos (30-7, 8-1 Big West) finished off their sweep of UC Davis with a 4-3 triumph at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Long Beach State fell to 7-30 and 2-7.
Cal Poly erupted for four runs in the first inning with five hits and a pair of walks. Bradlee Beesley and Conagher Sands doubled to drive in the fist two runs and Cole Cabrera and Nick DiCarlo added RBI singles for the 4-0 advantage.
Long Beach State rallied for four runs in its half of the second frame to knot the score. Kaden Hogan’s first home run of the year, a two-run shot, cut the Mustang lead in half and Laine Huffman tied the game with a two-run single, chasing Mustang starter Darren Nelson.
Clark restored order and threw 106 pitches, reaching the ninth inning and keeping Long Beach State off the scoreboard. Clark retired the side in order twice and the Dirtbags did not get a runner to third base until the last inning.
For the week, Clark, who tossed four frames in relief for the win Thursday night, pitched 10 1/3 innings and did not allow a run, scattered five hits, struck out eight. Issued two walks and earned a pair of victories.
Greene, whose sacrifice fly knocked in the winning run in the ninth inning, capping Cal Poly’s comeback from a 5-0 deficit, at UC Davis last Sunday, singled through the right side of the Long Beach State infield to score Myles Emmerson from third base and give Cal Poly a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning.
There was no scoring for either team the rest of the way. Long Beach State stranded 11 runners on the basepaths, including two runners in the first and third innings and three in the ninth. The Dirtbags loaded the bases in the ninth via a walk, a single and a hit batsman before Alvarez and Dollard combined to strike out the side, ending the game.
Greene and DiCarlo both had two hits for Cal Poly and Sands extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his first-inning RBI double.
Hogan and Jacob Hughey had three hits each for Long Beach State and Chris Jimenez added two.
The loss went to Dirtbag starter Zak Baayoun (2-7) as the junior southpaw allowed five runs and eight hits over four innings. He threw 42 pitches in allowing the four runs in the top of the first inning.
Nelson, who has not been able to exceed three innings on the mound in five of his last six starts, surrendered four runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings Saturday.
Cal Poly wraps up a seven-game road trip Tuesday night at Santa Clara (8-29), which lost two of three West Coast Conference games versus Gonzaga this weekend but beat the Mustangs 7-6 on April 2.
Cal Poly steps away from Big West play next weekend, hosting USC for a three-game non-conference series Friday through Sunday inside Baggett Stadium.
–Provided by Cal Poly