Cal Poly Baseball Wraps Up Four-Game Homestand Tuesday vs. Pepperdine
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly (25-17, 9-6 Big West), which has won six of 10 weekend series, including four sweeps, and is tied for third place in the Big West Conference standings, will host the third-place team from the West Coast Conference, Pepperdine (24-16, 7-5 West Coast) for a single non-conference game Tuesday night in Baggett Stadium (cap.: 1,734).
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. 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 jumped to a much better 20-10 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 finished April with an 8-8 mark after sweeping a three-game Big West series at home against Pacific over the weekend.
Cal Poly posted a 2-7 record since sweeping UC Irvine on April 5-7 in Baggett Stadium, with eight of those nine games played on the road, before posting 7-1, 15-4 and 6-4 victories over Pacific, hitting .343 as a team with 12 extra-base hits and not committing a single error.
Pepperdine has not played since winning two of three games at Santa Clara on April 20-22. The Waves took a break from baseball for final exams last week. Pepperdine jumped to a 16-5 start before getting swept by nationally ranked Texas A@M in late March. The Waves lost eight of 10 before rebounding with six wins in their last nine contests.
Last Tuesday, Cal Poly let a 2-0 lead slip away in the sixth inning as Fresno State rallied for a 3-2 win at Pete Beiden Field. The Mustangs had a streak of nine consecutive games with 10 or more hits (.318 average) snapped as they collected just four hits, The Bulldogs won both games against the Mustangs this season, handing Cal Poly its first loss of the season in 21 games in which the Mustangs led after eight innings with a 5-3 triumph April 17 in Baggett Stadium, scoring four times in the ninth to erase a 3-1 deficit.
Cal Poly's top hitter through 42 games is senior shortstop Mike Miller , who is hitting .358 with 12 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 28 RBI and 41 runs scored. He had a 14-game hitting streak earlier this season and was 7-for-11 in the Pacific series last weekend with two home runs and five RBI.
Junior center fielder Mitch Haniger sports a .348 mark and leads the Mustangs and the Big West with nine home runs and 46 RBI. Sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen is hitting .353 with 11 doubles, two home runs and 27 RBI after going 7-for-13 with six RBI against Pacific.
Pepperdine, coached by Steve Rodriguez (eighth season (287-222), Pepperdine '01), returned 21 lettermen, including eight position starters and nine pitchers, off a team which went 22-34 a year ago and finished seventh in the West Coast Conference at 7-14.
Top hitters so far in 2012 for the Waves are second baseman Joe Sever (.366, 37 RBI), shortstop Zach Vincej (.342, 13 doubles, 20 RBI) and right fielder Tony Cooper (.311, 13 RBI). The pitching staff is led by right-handers Jon Moscot (4-4, 3.11 ERA), Scott Frazier (5-3, 3.31 ERA) and Corey Miller (6-3, 4.01 ERA) and southpaw Matt Maurer (4-1, 3.80 ERA). The closer is right-hander Michael Swanner (2-2, 3.05 ERA, six saves). Miller is expected to start Tuesday's game at Cal Poly.
Pepperdine is hitting .279 this season, has compiled a 3.86 staff ERA and has committed 42 errors in 40 games for a .974 fielding percentage.
The Waves have appeared in 25 NCAA regionals, the last time in 2008, and has made two College World Series appearances, capturing the national title in 1992.
Cal Poly and Pepperdine have met 49 times on the baseball field since the series began in 1947. The Waves hold a 29-20 advantage, beating the Mustangs twice in 2011 by scores of 5-3 and 7-4 in 11 innings. Cal Poly is 10-14 against Pepperdine since the Mustangs moved to Division I prior to the 1995 season.
Facing Corey Miller on the mound for Cal Poly will be freshman right-hander Bryan Granger (0-1, 2.87 ERA), who has started the last four midweek games for the Mustangs. Granger (pictured above) pitched five scoreless innings at Fresno State last week, scattering four hits, and also pitched five innings against the Bulldogs in Baggett Stadium two weeks ago, allowing one run and five hits. He was not involved in the decision in either contest.
Cal Poly is 5-3 against West Coast Conference schools this season, sweeping a four-game series against Loyola Marymount and beating San Francisco 11-9 on March 4 while losing twice to Santa Clara 5-2 and 11-6 in the first three weeks of the season.
Cal Poly, 0-5 in games played on Tuesdays, was ranked No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after its 7-1 start and No. 27 three weeks ago 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 13-1 on Saturday, 5-1 in shutouts, 24-1 when leading after eight innings, 19-5 when outhitting its foes and 17-5 when making fewer errors than the opposition this season.
Cal Poly visits UC Davis for a Big West series this weekend (Friday at 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 1 o'clock).
After Tuesday's game against Pepperdine, the Mustangs will have just six home games remaining in 2012 -- three-game series against CSU Bakersfield on May 11-13 and UC Santa Barbara on May 18-20.