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Cal Poly wins at #9 UC Irvine 10-5

UC IRVINE, Calif. – Cal Poly (27-16, 16-6 BW) continues to prove the preseason predictions wrong, this time by upsetting one of college baseball’s best teams: #9 UC Irvine (33-9, 14-5 BW). Despite a rocky start, the Mustangs unloaded in the eighth inning to turn the game on its head and take a 10-5 series-opening victory.

Ryan Stafford became the first in the Big West to reach 70 hits, extending his hit streak to 23 games, which is now tied for 3rd in Cal Poly’s D1 history. Braxton Thomas also continued his breakout, collecting hits and RBIs for the fourth straight game after solidifying his position as the team’s everyday DH while notching a new career-high 4 RBIs.

UC Irvine drew first blood in the contest, something that Cal Poly has managed to limit for the majority of 2024, with a 2-RBI single up the middle during the opening inning. In response, Braxton Thomas continued his fantastic freshman year with an RBI up the middle to close the gap, down 2-1.

In the bottom of the second, UCI extended its scoring into consecutive innings with a deep home run to left-center that brought the Anteaters’ lead to 3-1. A double that stayed in the park near the same spot added another run to increase the gap by one more.

After a tough first two innings, Jakob Wright steadied and began dealing well against one of college baseball’s best offenses. Through the third and fourth inning, Wright picked up dual pairs of strikeouts while also allowing no hits.

After Wright began providing solid support from the mound, Thomas came up big yet again with another pair of RBIs in the sixth inning to put the Mustangs in striking range of the UCI lead. Aaron Casillas delivered that tie with his own squeeze sacrifice RBI, knotting the game at 4-4.

Zach Daudet, also building on his hot streak, doubled to lead off the eighth inning before advancing to third on a well-read wild pitch. Thomas crushed his 4th RBI of the game right off the third baseman’s glove to give Cal Poly its first lead of the game 5-4.

Jake Steels delivered a clutch two-out RBI-single to bring Thomas all the way around from second base, putting the Mustangs up 6-4 and allowing Cal Poly a slight amount of breathing room. After Stafford was plunked to take first, moving Steels up one base, Ryan Fenn bounced a single off the front slope of the pitcher’s mound and into center field for a 7-4 lead.

Yorke then sent a well-hit single to right field that rounded Stafford from second and scored yet another run. Alejandro Garza made it three straight RBI hits for a sizable 9-4 lead and definitive momentum for the Mustangs late in the game while in an extensive two-out rally.

Still in the eighth inning with two outs, Dylan Kordic singled to load the bases. Another run crossed the plate when Daudet was hit by a pitch, yielding Cal Poly their third straight game of double digit runs before UCI finally snuck out of the inning.

Wright eclipsed 100 pitches thrown after seven complete innings before yielding the mound to Tanner Sagouspe, far outlasting the opposing Anteater starter. The redshirt sophomore ace tossed five straight scoreless innings, three of those with the batters sat in order. Wright allowed just five hits while striking out nine in the process of giving Cal Poly the opportunity to completely turn the game around.

Sagouspe experienced some trouble settling down in the eighth inning as UC Irvine loaded the bases before a batter was hit by a pitch, gifting the Anteaters a run. Even so, the closer found consistency with his rainbow curveball and sat down the next three batters in order despite juiced bases around him, striking out two in the process.

Wright earned the win, taking his record to 7-2, after Sagouspe slammed the door shut on UCI’s rallying attempt in the ninth inning. Sagouspe allowed just three hits in two complete innings as he nullified the Anteaters during a winning effort.

On top of beating their first top-10 ranked opponent since 2020, the Mustangs collected their 12th double-digit hitting game in the last 16 contests. Cal Poly now has its first five-game winning streak of the season heading into a potential series-winning affair against #9 UC Irvine at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

{Article courtesy of Cal Poly Athletics)

The post Cal Poly starts off crucial Big West series with a win at #9 UC Irvine appeared first on News Channel 3-12.