I took my first trip up to the Central Coast of California to get another look at Cal Poly southpaw Matt Imhof against a Pac-12 lineup (the Mustangs’ third series against Pac-12 competition). Behind three hits from Mark Mathias, Cal Poly took a 4-1 victory over California at Baggett Stadium Friday night.
Imhof didn’t dazzle (despite striking out the side in the first), but he was still very good, striking out nine and allowing only one run on three hits and four walks in 7.2 innings. He only got stronger as the game progressed — four of the final five outs he recorded were strikeouts.
Junior ace Matt Imhof talks about pitching without his best stuff and still being able to beat Cal:
After Cal Poly took an early 1-0 lead, Cal tied the game up in the sixth inning without needing a hit (walk, wild pitch, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly). But the Mustangs immediately answered back.
Jimmy Allen came about 18 inches from a home run, banging one off the left-centerfield wall for a leadoff triple. Mathias singled Allen home with a great piece of hitting in an 0-2 count against reliever Keaton Siomkin, going down to get a pretty good low-and-away breaking ball and shooting it right back up the middle. Mathias stole second base and scored on a Chris Hoo single.
The bottom three in the Mustangs’ lineup finished 5-for-9 with two runs, three RBI and two walks. Mark Mathias was 3-for-4 with a run, stolen base and RBI while Hoo knocked in a pair of runs.
Daulton Jefferies (5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) gave Cal a chance, but took the loss when his inherited runner, Allen, scored in the sixth inning. The Golden Bears continue to struggle at the plate where they managed just five hits and are now batting .216 as a team with only one starter above .275.
Cal head coach Dave Esquer talks about the offensive ineptitude:
Taylor Chris pitched the final 1.1 innings for the save. Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said closer Reed Reilly, who has been out since leaving last Thursday’s game with muscle spasms in his hamstring, was available. However, Lee said he is trying to hold Reilly out as long as possible.
Listen to what Larry Lee had to say about Matt Imhof, the production from the bottom of his lineup, moving Justin Calomeni into the rotation and what he expects to see in Big West Conference play throughout the season:
And check out the top photos from Friday night’s game taken by CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling: