SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Missouri State erupted for 17 hits, including eight doubles and a home run, and cruised to a 15-4 win over Cal Poly on Saturday to tie the non-conference baseball series in three games in one game each.
The game, played before 1,877 fans at Baggett Stadium, was eerily similar to Friday night’s contest, except who was on the winning team.
Missouri State hit two in the first inning on Friday on a two-run home run. So did Cal Poly on Saturday. The Mustangs produced a big inning to turn Friday’s game upside down with nine runs in the fifth inning. The Bears responded with a seven-run fifth-inning riot on Saturday.
The rubber match of the opening series of the season between the two 1-1 teams will be played on Sunday at 13:00.
Catcher Collin Villegas hit a 2-2 Brandt Thompson pitch over the wall in left field to give Cal Poly its early 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Missouri State rallied with two runs in the second inning and broke the deadlock with its seven-run rally in the fifth inning highlighted by two-run doubles against the bats of Mason Greer and Zack Stewart.
The Bears added two more runs in the seventh, including a home run by Cody Kelly, and four in the eighth, Stewart capping the riot with a three-run double.
After scoring twice in the first inning on four hits, Cal Poly was limited to just one hit over the next seven frames, a bloop single to left by Aaron Casillas. The Mustangs finally generated some offense in the ninth, scoring twice as Tanner Sagouspe doubled, Kemet Brown walked, and both drove home on RBI groundouts by Jake Steels and Joe Yorke.
Stewart, Tab Gollert and Nick Rodriguez each had three of Missouri State’s 17 hits. Gollert doubled three times, driving in three runs, and Stewart and Greer added two doubles each, Stewart finished with four RBI.
Cal Poly’s six hits included a single and a double by Casillas plus the home run by Villegas, his sixth as a Mustang. He went home four times a year ago.
Thompson (1-0) pitched five game-winning innings, allowing two runs and four hits with four strikeouts. The loss went to Mustang lefty Travis Weston (0-1) despite him striking out nine Bears, two fewer than his career. Weston gave up six runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was followed by five relievers, Owen Dueck and Holden Garcia who each bowled a goalless frame.
College of San Mateo transfer Ryan Baum, 7-3 with a 1.60 ERA in two seasons with the Bulldogs, will punt the rubber for Cal Poly in Sunday’s right-handed matchup, tackled by Hayden Minton, a senior who has compiled a 1-7 record as a freshman and sophomore combined for the Bears before playing his junior season at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas and posting a 7-1 record in 10 starts with an ERA of 3.91.