All nine Cal Poly starters collected hits and the Mustangs produced double-digit hits for the fourth time in the series en route to a 9-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Sunday afternoon inside Baggett Stadium.
The win completed a four-game sweep of the Big West Conference series, the first time Cal Poly had swept the Titans since its Big West championship season in 2014. It also is the first sweep of a four-game series by the Mustangs since sweeping Columbia in 2019.
And for the first time since 2011, Cal Poly bounced back from being swept in a series by sweeping the next opponent. The Mustangs, swept by CSU Bakersfield last weekend, dropped all three games of a series at Oklahoma State in the second week of the 2011 season before bouncing back to sweep Valparaiso.
Redshirt freshman Nick Marinconz provided the top highlight for the Mustangs on Sunday with a three-run triple to the gap in right-center field, breaking open a 4-1 contest in the fifth inning. Marinconz finished the series 7-for-15 with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs.
Marinconz has lifted his average 128 points to .263 by going 15-for-39 (.385) over his last 12 games.
First baseman Joe Yorke climbed above the .200 mark with his first three-hit game as a Mustang, all singles, and driving in a pair of runs. Center fielder Cole Cabrera, catcher Myles Emmerson and right fielder Nick DiCarlo each added two hits and one RBI for Cal Poly.
“We played well in all facets of the game this weekend after struggling the past few weekends,” said 19th-year Mustang head coach Larry Lee, now 22-33 against Cal State Fullerton. “We got some quality starts from our pitchers and offense is contagious. When your better hitters hit, it gives confidence to the other hitters throughout the lineup.”
Freshman right-hander Bryce Warrecker (2-3), the second of five Mustang pitchers, earned the win, allowing one run and three hits over three innings.
Starter Kyle Scott tossed three scoreless, hitless frames with a pair of strikeouts, working out of a first-inning jam by inducing Nate Nankil to line out to shortstop Brooks Lee with one out and the bases loaded. Lee finished the unassisted double play by outrunning Cole Urman to second base.
Lee notched his third Big West Baseball Field Player of the Week award this season after helping the Mustangs complete the series sweep.
Cal State Fullerton starter Kyle Luckham (3-8) suffered the loss, giving up six runs (four earned) and seven hits over four-plus innings. The Titans committed three errors Sunday, with three of the nine runs allowed unearned.
Cal Poly scored once in the third inning (Cabrera sacrifice fly) and twice in the fourth (Yorke RBI single plus a Titan throwing error) before breaking the game open with five runs in the fifth.An RBI single by Emmerson preceded the three-run triple by Marinconz and he scored on Yorke's RBI single to right-center field.
A sacrifice fly by DiCarlo in the eighth tallied the final run of the game.
Cal Poly has won series against Cal State Fullerton five times since and including 2011. Over the last 43 meetings between the two clubs, Cal Poly has won 21. At 17-26 for the year with eight games remaining, the Titans will finish under the .500 mark for the first time in 46 Division I seasons (excluding the pandemic-shortened 2020 season).
Cal Poly pulled even at 24-24 for the year with the series sweep and is 14-18 in Big West games, climbing from 10th place into a tie for seventh with Cal State Fullerton (12-16).
After hitting just .223 and averaging only 3.9 runs over their previous 27 games entering this weekend’s series, the Mustangs hit .425 against the Titans, led by Emmerson (10-for-19, four RBIs), Lee (9-for-18, four doubles, one home run, seven RBIs) and Cabrera (9-for-19).
The Mustang pitching staff compiled a 1.36 staff ERA with Travis Weston tossing a complete-game shutout Saturday and Drew Thorpe throwing 7 1/3 scoreless frames Friday.
During the 27-game lull offensively, Cal Poly’s highest average in a weekend series was .265 accomplished against both UC Riverside and CSU Bakersfield.
Cal Poly plays its final road series of the year next weekend at UC Davis before returning home to close out the 2021 campaign with four games against Hawai’i on Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) inside Baggett Stadium.