Former Cuesta star helps Washington beat Cal Poly in baseball

Michael Camporeale homers in the Huskies' 10-5 win over the Mustangs

jscroggin@thetribunenews.comMarch 11, 2012 

Michael Camporeale was back mashing in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, and he brought the Seattle climate with him.

Having a strong season for Washington (10-5), the former Cuesta College baseball standout hit a two-run home run on a dark and gloomy day at Baggett Stadium that might have been more appropriate for the Pacific Northwest.

The Huskies seemed to relish the weather, racking up 12 hits — including eight for extra bases — in a 10-5 victory that came after Cal Poly pitching dominated each of the first two games of the series Friday and Saturday.

“It was almost a home-field advantage for us today just because of the overcast weather,” Camproeale quipped, “and we took advantage of it.”

The Mustangs (11-5) still came away with a series victory over a Pac-12 team that entered the series on a six-game winning streak, but Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said the game exposed some weaknesses the team will need to address as the season moves on with a road series at Minnesota starting next Saturday.

“If you win a series against a Pac-12 team, it’s a success,” Lee said, “but when you have an opportunity to sweep a team and don’t do it, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

“Outside of the first inning Friday night, we pitched very well, very dominant, and today there was no resemblance of those first two outings.”

Freshman right fielder Nick Torres continued his torrid start, batting 2 for 4 with a two-run home run and upping his team-high batting average to .381. Mitch Haniger was also 2 for 4 and scored on the home run.

But Cal Poly’s first three pitchers of the afternoon each gave up at least three earned runs before back-end bullpen pitchers Nick Grim and Chase Johnson restored order and finished the game with 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings.

“I think we have some question marks right now on Sunday,” Lee said. “I thought going into the season, we would always be the better team on Sunday. I was very confident in the pitching staff, and it hasn’t turned out that way.

“I’m not sure what the answers are, but I think we really need to spend some time to find out what’s really going to be the best fit for Sundays.”

With Cal Poly’s pitching falling flat, the day belonged to Camporeale, who batted 1 for 3 with two walks, before a crowd that included his dad, a great uncle who lives in the area and plenty of former Cougars teammates who came out to see him.

The two-run homer that gave Washington a 5-0 lead in the third inning Sunday was Camporeale’s only hit in the series after he batted 0 for 2 on Friday night, but he finished the series with four walks batting seventh in the two games he played right field.

“It’s definitely a big transition from junior college,” said Camporeale, who transferred to Washington for this season after finishing his Cuesta career ranked 10th in batting average (.367) and third in slugging (.619) on the Cougars’ all-time lists.

“But it’s nice hitting in the bottom of the order because you know you’re going to get a lot more fastballs instead of slider-curve-change every pitch. Definitely, I have a hard adjustment, but I’m working on it, and I’ll get more consistent as the year goes on.”

The junior, who led all of Colorado with 14 home runs as a senior at Chatfield High near Littleton, Colo., has already been one of Washington’s most consistent run-producers.

Batting .292, he leads the team with 13 RBI and is the only player on the team with two home runs.

On Sunday, he took a 2-0 fastball from Cal Poly freshman lefty Matt Imhof and parked it in the lot past the left-field wall. The two-out drive against Imhof came after Washington had already chased Mustangs starter Kyle Bruggemann, who was charged with four earned runs in only 2 1⁄3 innings. Camporeale was a late addition to the signing class of the Huskies. Cuesta coach Bob Miller had been touting his below-the-radar player to Washington coaches, who snapped him up when scholarship money became available.

“The thing that he’s done for us is he’s driven in runs,” said Huskies head coach Lindsay Meggs, who was tossed from the game after arguing the call on a stolen base by Cal Poly’s David Armendariz with Washington leading 7-2 in the fifth inning. “That’s important for us. He’s going to hit in the middle of the batting order somewhere, and regardless of his batting average or whatever else he does, if he can continue to drive in runs for us, that’s the big thing.

“He is physical. He’s a good fastball hitter, and this is a fastball league, where people are going to throw the ball pretty hard and challenge you, so we think it’s a pretty good fit for us and just a guy that hopefully will continue to get better.”

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service