Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Cal Poly Walks Off With 3-2 Win Over Lions

Recaps, photo courtesy of Columbia

The Mustangs used a triple and base-hit with two outs in the ninth to claim the series opener.


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cole Cabrera notched a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift Cal Poly to a 3-2 win over the Columbia baseball team Friday night. Starting pitcher Josh Simpson went 5.1 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and struck out eight for the Lions (0-5).

Jarred Zill was also superb for the Mustangs (3-9), fanning nine over six innings and allowing just one run on three hits. Michael Clark (1-1) after tossing the final three innings, allowing one run on two hits.

The Lions were held to just one hit through the first three frames before breaking through with two
outs in the fourth. Liam McGill broke out of an early slump for a double and came home when Joe Engel blooped a single to right-center to give Columbia the lead, 1-0.

Simpson coasted through the first three as well, recording seven strikeouts in the first nine outs. However, Bradlee Beesley led the fourth off with a triple and a sac fly knotted things up. The leadoff batter reached again in the bottom of the sixth and a stolen base put the go-ahead run in scoring position for Beesley, who delivered another big knock to put the Mustangs in front, 2-1.

Billy Black entered the game with two on and one out and picked off a runner on second and getting a fly ball to keep it a one-run contest.

This time, Columbia answered on its next at-bats. A single and stolen base from Josh Nicoloff started the rally, and the sophomore moved to third on a ground out. With two away, first-year Austin Mowrey came through with his first career hit down the rightfield line to draw the Lions even.

The score remained 2-2 until the Mustangs wrapped things up in the ninth. Blake Wagenseller hit a ball that was just out of the reach of a diving Jack Chernow in left-center for a triple. The next batter was Cabrera, who rifled one off the wall in left to put the game away.

The Lions did have an opportunity to break through in the top of the ninth when McGill reached on an error and Jack Chernow walked to put runners on first and second with one away. Clark answered with a strikeout and induced a ground ball to first to escape the jam and put Cal Poly in position to earn the victory.

Black (0-1) finished the game, tossing 3.1 innings with a strikeout. Columbia was held to just five hits on the night. Nicoloff was 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases.

Beesley and Cabrera were each 2-for-4 to lead the Mustangs.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – A ninth inning rally fell just short as the Columbia baseball team fell 5-4 at Cal Poly Sunday afternoon. The Mustangs (6-9) earned a four-game sweep of the Lions, who fell to 0-8 on the year.

Columbia trailed by three heading down to the final inning, but two errors allowed the Lions to pull within one with two outs. Jack Chernow led things off with a single before Cal Poly turned to Michael Clark to try and close things out. Clark walked Ben Porter to bring the tying run to the plate, but induced a groundout and struck out the next batter to put the Lions on the brink.

Julian Bury hit a roller to the right side that slid under the second baseman's glove to make it 5-3. Matt Cerfolio dropped in a single to short left to bring in Porter and put the tying run in scoring position. Joe Engel grounded the first pitch he saw to third that Nick DiCarlo couldn't handle to fill the base paths. Clark closed the door on the Columbia comeback bid by getting a fly out to right.

The Lions were held to seven hits on the day and all four runs were charged as unearned.

With two away in the top of the first, Joe Engel reached on an error and McGill made the Mustangs pay, belting a towering home run to left to put the Lions up 2-0. The long ball was Columbia's first homer of the season.

The Lions had a chance to extend the lead in the third when Julian Bury singled and Matt Cerfolio drew a walk. Engel dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position and Cal Poly opted to give McGill a free pass to set up a force play and Darren Nelson kept the Lions off the board with a pair of pop-ups.

Leo Pollack cruised through the first time through the lineup, but the Mustangs led off the fourth with a double and Tate Samuelson went deep to knot things up, 2-2.

Cal Poly took its first lead of the day in its next at-bats, using consecutive singles to start the rally. After a bunt and intentional walk loaded the bases, Samuelson grounded a ball that pushed second baseman Josh Nicoloff towards first base and the only play was to get the out at first to drive in the go-ahead run.

In the sixth, the Mustangs added an insurance run with two outs. With a runner on first, Willie Cano chopped a ball between Engel at short and Matt Cerfolio at third that neither could get a clean glove on to extend the inning. The next batter, Connor Gurnik, delivered a base knock to make it 4-2.
Darren Nelson earned the win for Cal Poly, tossing 6.0 innings of five-hit ball. Clark picked up his first save of the year.

Jordan Chriss (0-2) took the loss. The junior gave up three runs on five hits over 4.0 innings.

The Lions are back in action when they open a four-game series at North Florida on Friday, March 15. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.

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