Cal Poly Clinches Cal State Northridge Series With 8-2 Victory

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior right-hander Steven Fischback scattered seven hits over eight innings and did not give up a fly ball out while sophomore second baseball Denver Chavez knocked in a pair of runs with two singles as Cal Poly clinched its three-game Big West Conference baseball series against Cal State Northridge with an 8-2 victory Saturday night before 1,232 in Baggett Stadium.

Fischback (3-2) secured 15 ground ball outs, struck out seven and the two runs he allowed were unearned, dropping his ERA to 4.11, as Cal Poly extended its winning streak to three games, clinched its third series win of the year and improved to 14-16 for the season.

The win also elevated the Mustangs into a tie for second place in the Big West with Long Beach State and UC Irvine, all with 5-3 conference marks.

Cal State Northridge, which committed three errors for the second straight game, fell to 17-18 and 0-5. The Matadors dropped a 7-3 decision in Friday's series opener.

Fischback (pictured above) struck out seven and walked two. For the season, the Las Lomas High School graduate has secured 69 groundouts compared to 28 fly ball outs.

The eight innings Fischback threw Saturday night represent his longest stint on the mound since April 27, 2008, when he also pitched eight innings in a no decision against UC Santa Barbara. He went nine innings a week earlier for a seven-hit 4-2 complete-game victory over UC Davis.

Fischback missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons following labrum surgery. On Saturday night he threw 106 pitches, 73 for strikes.

Mustang center fielder Bobby Crocker hit a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall leading off the bottom of the first inning and Cal Poly never looked back, adding three more runs in the first and three more in the fourth en route to the victory.

Chavez produced RBI singles to left field in the fourth and seventh innings while five other Mustangs also collected a pair of hits as Cal Poly outhit the visiting Matadors 15-7. The Mustangs have produced three straight double-digit hit games for the first time this season.

Senior first baseman J.J. Thompson continued his hot hitting of late. His single and double for one RBI gave him his 11th two-hit game in his last 19 starts, raising his average 179 points to .337 and extending his hitting streak to eight games.

Crocker, designated hitter DJ Gentile and right fielder Mitch Haniger all had two hits and one RBI while left fielder Jimmy Allen also contributed a pair of hits for the Mustangs. Catcher Elliot Stewart had a single and sacrifice fly.

Cal State Northridge's seven hits included three singles by left fielder Adam Barry. The Matadors scored single runs in the fourth and eighth innings. Both runs were unearned as Cal Poly also committed three errors.

Eugene Wright retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning in relief of Fischback.

The loss went to Matador sophomore right-hander Josh Goossen-Brown (4-1) after allowing seven runs and 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings. Entering the game with a 2.18 ERA, Goossen-Brown struck out two and did not walk a batter.

Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. in Baggett Stadium with freshman right-hander Chase Johnson (0-2, 3.96 ERA) to start on the mound for Cal Poly against either junior right-hander Justen Gorski (3-4, 5.90 ERA) or senior right-hander Paul Tremlin (2-1, 3.94 ERA) for Cal State Northridge.