MUSTANG BASEBALL FANS: Because Cal Poly will be hosting a 5,000-meter run on campus today, set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of the remodeled Rec Center, there exists the potential for significant traffic on campus this afternoon. The race will impact the flow of traffic typically entering from both Highland Avenue and California Boulevard for the baseball game. Please be aware of the potential for traffic and make plans to arrive earlier. It is advised that fans enter the campus from the main Grand Avenue entrance tonight.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (21-13, 5-4 Big West), which has won five of eight series and is all alone in third place in the Big West Conference standings, takes a break from Big West play Tuesday night by hosting Fresno State (15-19, 1-5 Western Athletic) in Baggett Stadium (cap.: 1,734).
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be aired live on ESPN Radio 1280 with Tom Barket providing the play-by-play. Audio and video streams as well as live stats will be available on www.gopoly.com.
Cal Poly returned 16 letter winners, including five position starters and five pitchers, off its 2011 squad which finished 27-26 overall and third in the Big West at 15-9. The Mustangs started the year 0-6 before winning 27 of their next 44 games.
Cal Poly is off to a much better start in 2012 with series sweeps against Oklahoma State (3-0), Loyola Marymount (4-0) and UC Irvine (3-0) as well as series wins over Washington (2-1) and San Diego State (3-1). The Mustangs, 7-1 in February, posted a 10-8 record in March, including series losses to Minnesota and Long Beach State, and are 4-4 so far in April after winning one of three games at Cal State Northridge over the weekend.
The series was to open Friday afternoon at Matador Field, but rain postponed the game and the Matadors and Mustangs played a doubleheader Saturday. Cal State Northridge claimed the opener 6-5 in 11 innings while Kyle Anderson pitched seven strong innings as Cal Poly bounced back with a 6-1 triumph in the nightcap. The Mustangs stranded 15 runners on the basepaths in the series finale Sunday, won by the Matadors 6-3.
Fresno State was swept by San Jose State at Pete Beiden Field last weekend, falling by scores of 4-0, 4-3 and 11-2.
Cal Poly's top hitter through 34 games is sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen with a .353 average, nine doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI. He went 7-for-14 in the Cal State Northridge series. Senior shortstop Mike Miller is hitting .347 average with 10 doubles, four triples, 22 RBI and 35 runs scored. He had a 14-game hitting streak earlier this season. Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger, 8-for-13 in the Cal State Northridge series, bumped his season average up to .333 and leads the Mustangs with seven home runs and 36 RBI. Sophomore left fielder David Armendariz is hitting .320 with six doubles and 20 RBI.
Fresno State, coached by Mike Batesole (10th season at Fresno State (344-255), 17th season overall (599-413), Cal State Fullerton '90), returned 17 lettermen, including four position starters and seven pitchers, off a team which went 40-16 a year ago, finished first in the Western Athletic Conference at 17-7 and was selected to participate in the NCAA UCLA Regional, posting a 0-2 mark.
The Bulldogs, 13-10 after splitting two games against UC Riverside, have lost nine of their last 11 games, including two of three games in series against New Mexico and Hawai'i. Fresno State won three of four games against Butler and split a four-game set against San Francisco while losing series against Stanford and Pepperdine.
Top hitters so far in 2012 for the Bulldogs are second baseman Patrick Hutcheson (.308, 10 RBI), center fielder Aaron Judge (.304, 14 RBI) and first baseman Trent Garrison (.293, 13 RBI). Fresno State is hitting .254 this season, has compiled a 3.72 staff ERA and has committed 52 errors in 34 games for a .961 fielding percentage.
Fresno State captured the 2008 NCAA College World Series title, has appeared in the NCAA postseason 32 times and has claimed 33 conference championships.
Cal Poly and Fresno State have met 175 times on the baseball field since the series began when both teams were California Collegiate Athletic Association members back in 1945. The Bulldogs hold a 111-63 advantage, though Cal Poly has won 18 of the last 22 meetings between the two Central California rivals. In 2005 Cal Poly swept Fresno State in a three-game series for the first time in the then-60-year history of the rivalry and duplicated the feat opening the 2006 campaign in Baggett Stadium and again in 2007 at Pete Beiden Field. The Mustangs won three of five games during Fresno State's national championship season in 2008 and also earned 11-4 and 5-4 wins last season. Cal Poly is 24-22 against Fresno State since the Mustangs moved to Division I prior to the 1995 season.
Tuesday's starting pitchers will be Bryan Granger (0-1, 6.35) for Cal Poly and William Munro (1-2, 4.00 ERA) for Fresno State. Both are freshman right-handers. Granger was the starter for the Mustangs in a March 21 win over Dartmouth and an April 10 loss at UC Santa Barbara.
Cal Poly was ranked No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after its 7-1 start and No. 27 last week after sweeping UC Irvine.
A year ago Cal Poly posted its sixth winning season in the last eight years, and a third-place finish in the highly competitive Big West Conference at 15-9. The Mustangs have finished in the upper half of the league standings eight times in the last 10 years. Cal Poly was 7-4 against top-25 teams in 2011 and finished 19-7 at home.
Cal Poly is 11-1 on Saturday, 5-1 in shutouts, 20-0 when leading after eight innings, 16-2 when outhitting its foes and 14-3 when making fewer errors than the opposition this season.
Cal Poly plays a three-game Big West Conference series at No. 12/14 Cal State Fullerton this weekend and will play at Fresno State next Tuesday (April 24) at 6:05 p.m. before returning home to host Pacific on April 27-29.