Apparently, for its series against Santa Barbara this weekend, Cal Poly not only packed its bats, mitts and cleats, but also its brooms.
The Gauchos (19-22 overall, 1-5 in the Big West) were the victims of some spring cleaning at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this weekend. Their Big West and Central Coast rivals swept them under the carpet in three games, 6-1, 15-6 and 13-10.
Taking advantage of the starting pitching and a revamped UCSB infield, the Mustangs (27-14, 8-1 Big West) are now tied for first in the conference with Fullerton.
With their six errors this weekend, the Gauchos felt the pangs of losing five infielders to injury, giving up a combined eight unearned runs. Senior outfielder Matt Stevens made his second and third career starts at second base on Friday and Saturday, before senior Dave Figoni got the nod at second on Sunday.
“We have all sorts of excuses, but until they start giving you runs for those excuses, we can’t use them. You have to make plays,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “This is not Little League; we have to make plays. Some guys are out of position, but we’re just asking them to make plays. I’m not putting that on the guys who made errors. We need to make plays as a pitcher, as a batter, across the board.”
Friday, Cal Poly junior left-hander Garrett Olson handcuffed the Santa Barbara batters, throwing a complete game to earn his ninth win of the season.
UCSB starter junior Michael Martin gave up five runs on eight hits through six innings in his fourth loss. Cal Poly scored four runs in the third and one each in the fourth and seventh innings to give Olson a lead to work with. Olson made the lead stand up, allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out nine.
“[Cal Poly] is a well-coached, solid fundamental team that’s on a roll,” Brontsema said. “They have good pitching and they took advantage of our errors.”
Saturday’s 15-6 blowout was a lesson in hitting from Cal Poly’s hitters. The Mustangs collected 21 hits and seven walks off of six UCSB pitchers. Senior starter Jimmy Shull earned the win, three-hitting the Gauchos through five innings before allowing six runs in the sixth.
With Cal Poly holding a one-run lead Sunday going into the sixth inning, the Gauchos looked to have a chance to salvage the series. However, two errors in the sixth followed by a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore designated hitter J.J. Owen put the Mustangs up 12-6. Despite rallying for four more runs, the Gauchos could not make up the six-run deficit.
Cal Poly junior center fielder Brandon Roberts still has Santa Barbara’s number, finishing the weekend 11-18 at the plate, with six runs, six RBI, two triples and a stolen base.