May 19, 2013 8:52 PM by Bill Halter
The Cal Poly baseball team honored five seniors before finishing off a sweep of Cal State Northridge with a 7-2 win. The victory moves the Mustangs into a second place tie with the Matadors with three regular season games left but most importantly positions Cal Poly to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs are 23rd in the RPI according to WarrenNolan.com, 64 teams make the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman right-hander Casey Bloomquist (6-1) earned his second victory of the week for Cal Poly, he worked six plus innings for the win in Tuesday's 10-4 triumph over CSU Bakersfield. Bloomquist pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits with no walks on Sunday. Head coach Larry Lee had Bloomquist pitch on Sunday because he plans to have him be the teams third starter in the playoffs. Sophomore closer Reed Reilly secured the final five outs and did not allow a run or a walk, giving up two hits and striking out a pair. Cal Poly's pitchers struck out 39 Cal State Northridge batters in the series and held the Matadors to five total runs for a 1.67 staff ERA.
In the fifth inning, senior catcher Elliot Stewart capped a 10-RBI week with his third home run in four games to break a 1-1 tie. Stewart, one of four seniors playing their final home game has eight home runs this season and four of Cal Poly's last seven homers. He added an RBI single in the sixth inning.
The Mustangs moved 21 games above the .500 mark for the first time in Cal Poly's 19-year Division I history, improving to 37-16 overall and 15-9 in the Big West. The Matadors, who have not won a series in Baggett Stadium since 1996, slipped to 31-23 for the year.
Freshman first baseman John Schuknecht and senior second baseman Denver Chavez also had two hits Sunday. Schuknecht doubled, singled and knocked in a run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly while Chavez hit his first homer of the season leading off the first inning and singled up the middle for another RBI in the fifth. With eight hits in the series Chavez lifted his batting average to a team-high .365.
Freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen had a single and an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to account for Cal Poly's final run of the game.
The Mustangs earned their fifth series sweep of the season, they've won nine of 14 weekend series. Attendance for the series was 3,613, giving Cal Poly an average of 1,290 fans over 29 home dates, second only to the 2009 season average of 1,312 in Baggett Stadium's 13-year history.
The Mustangs finished 23-6 at home this season, the most home victories ever at Baggett Stadium. The 2009 team also won 23 games while last year's squad won 22 at home.
Four Cal Poly seniors -- Stewart, Chavez and pitchers Joey Wagman and Kyle Brueggemann -- and one junior -- outfielder Matt Russell -- were honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony. Russell, a redshirt in 2010, will soon graduate in general engineering.
The Mustangs finish the regular season with three games at Pacific starting on Thursday. The Tigers are 6-18 in the Big West. The NCAA Tournament selection show is Monday morning.
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