Senior southpaw Trent Shelton pitched into the eighth inning, the first Cal Poly pitcher to do so this season, and the Mustangs snapped a 3-3 tie with two runs in the sixth inning to edge Long Beach State 5-4 in the opener of a Big West Conference baseball series Friday night inside Baggett Stadium.
Before 2,431 fans, the largest home crowd this season, and a national television audience (ESPNU), the Mustangs handed 16th-year head coach Larry Lee his 500th victory.
Cal Poly, 17-19 overall and 4-6 in Big West games, jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first three innings. The Dirtbags rallied to tie the score at 3-3 in the middle innings and the Mustangs broke the deadlock on a double-play ball and a wild pitch in the sixth inning.
Long Beach State, the defending Big West Conference champion, rallied for a run in the eighth and loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before freshman lefty Matt Arens struck out the final two Dirtbags of the game for his first save.
Sophomore second baseman Scott Ogrin tripled twice, the 11th Mustang to hit a pair of three-baggers in a game in Cal Poly’s 24-year Division I history. Last week, he doubled three times in one game against UC Davis, the 14th Mustang to do so, and he has four doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs in his last eight games.
Shelton (3-2) tossed 7 2/3 innings for the win, allowing four runs (two earned) and 10 hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The transfer from Oregon State threw exactly 100 pitches.
Cam Schneider secured two outs but walked two batters and hit another in the ninth as Long Beach State loaded the bases with one out. Arens faced just two batters, striking out both Jarren Duran and Jacob Hughey, the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in the Dirtbag batting order, to end the game.
Both teams produced 11 hits.
Sophomore right fielder Bradlee Beesley collected two singles and a double to lead Cal Poly offensively. Ogrin, designated hitter Elijah Skipps and catcher Nick Meyer each added two hits.
Long Beach State was paced by Clayton Andrews with two singles and a triple. Duran singled twice.
Dirtbag starter Zak Baayoun, not involved in the decision, gave up three runs and eight hits over five innings, striking out five but throwing 102 pitches. The loss went to Eli Villalobos as he gave up the tiebreaking runs in the sixth.
An RBI triple by Ogrin and Nick DiCarlo’s safety squeeze bunt gave Cal Poly a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Meyer’s double down the left-field line made it 3-0 in the third.
After Long Beach State tied the game with a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, Cal Poly broke the deadlock with two runs in the sixth. Tate Samuelson grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to give the Mustangs a 4-3 lead and Kyle Marinconz scored on a wild pitch.
The Dirtbags closed the gap to 5-4 in the eighth, but couldn’t produce the tying or go-ahead runs, stranding runners at first and third in the eighth and leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with Cal Poly freshman right-hander Darren Nelson (3-3, 5.36 ERA) to face Long Beach State’s Andrews (3-6, 2.70 ERA), a junior southpaw from Cabrillo College.
Sunday’s series finale starts at 1 o’clock.
-Provided by Cal Poly