LONG BEACH, Calif. — With two outs in the first inning, Long Beach State first baseman Ino Patron hit a hard but seemingly innocuous grounder to first base. But the ball squirted past Tim Wise, allowing Patron to reach. Back-to-back base hits by Richard Prigatano and Michael Hill plated Patron with an unearned run.
That was it.
For the next eight innings, neither No. 2 Cal Poly nor the Dirtbags (20-21, 7-5) could scratch across a run as Long Beach State took a 1-0 victory and the biggest series win in Troy Buckley’s head coaching tenure.
Buckley talks about the big series victory and how his team has to carry the momentum forward:
The Mustangs (36-7, 12-3) had prime opportunities Sunday afternoon at Blair Field. They had the leadoff hitter on in the second and third innings, but could get nothing going.
In the fifth inning, Cal Poly again got the leadoff hitter on and then lined back-to-back singles with one out to load the bases for leading hitter Mark Mathias.
Mathias chopped the ball hard down the third base line, but Hill snagged the ball, stepped on third base and fired across the diamond for an inning-ending double play. As he stretched to beat the throw, Mathias injured himself, gingerly limping thirty feet down the right field line.
Mathias played defense for another half inning, before leaving the game. Head coach Larry Lee said it was a heel injury and said Mathias’ status is up in air for the team’s midweek game at Pepperdine and next weekend’s series at UC Riverside.
Here’s Lee talking about Mathias and another big injury and his concerns with the team’s offense after scoring only two runs in the final two games at Long Beach:
The Mustangs soon lost another key player to injury when Casey Bloomquist hyperextended his left knee on a fifth inning pitch. After a couple of warm-up tosses, Bloomquist continued.
Colby Brenner smacked a double in the right-centerfield gap, but Cal Poly produced a perfect relay to nail Colton Vaughn at the plate to end the inning. Bloomquist backed up the play at the plate, but had a significant limp as he walked off the field. Taylor Chris replaced him on the mound in the sixth inning.
Cal Poly again threatened in the seventh inning when it loaded the bases and chase Long Beach starter Nick Sabo (6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K) with two outs. Ty Provencher came on to face pinch hitter Brett Barbier in Mathias’ spot in the lineup and got Barbier to pop out to first base to end the threat.
Sabo talks about the combined two-hit shutout, being able to hold down Cal Poly’s high-powered offense and pitching despite not being 100 percent:
Provencher allowed a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, but got a lazy liner up the middle that Garrett Hampson snagged and fired to first base for a double play. Provencher finished off his second save with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth inning to hand Cal Poly its first series loss of the season.
The ____ reliever talks about his mindset when entering in such a high-pressure situation and the Dirtbag pitching staff’s confidence right now:
Prigatano and Hill finished with two hits each while Cal Poly only managed two in the game. Peter Van Gansen and Chris Hoo were both perfect from the plate, however. Both were 1-for-1 from the plate and combined for three walks.
Check out the top photos in the 1-0 shutout by CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling: