Zack Zehner and John Schuknecht hit late-inning home runs for the Cal Poly baseball team Sunday but it wasn’t enough as the Mustangs lost for the second straight day to UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark, this time 6-5.
The Anteaters (31-17, 13-5) Big West Conference moved into a tie atop the conference standings with Cal State Fullerton, who lost to UC Santa Barbara (12-6) on Sunday.
Cal Poly, the defending Big West champs, fell into fifth place at 10-8 and is 23-25 overall.
UC Irvine never trailed, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
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After the Mustangs pulled within 2-1 in the top of the fourth on an unearned run, the Anteaters scored twice in the fifth and sixth innings for a commaning 6-1 lead.
Zehner belted a two-run home run in the seventh, and Schuknecht led off the eighth with a solo home run. Mark Mathias’ sacrifice fly later in the inning pulled the Mustangs within 6-5.
Cal Poly threatened to tie or take the lead in the top of the ninth as it loaded the bases with three singles, but a comebacker off the foot of UC Irvine closer Sam Moore led to the final out of the game.
Zehner, Jordan Ellis, Ryan Drobny and Tommy Plushkell all had two hits for Cal Poly, which outhit the Anteaters 12-9.
Zehner’s homer was his ninth of the year and his two RBI give him 41 for the year.
Taylor Chris took the loss for the Mustangs. He made his first career start after 77 relief appearances.
TRACK AND FIELD
Pac-12 multi-event championships
At UCLA, Colorado’s Abrianna Torres finished fifth in the seven-event heptathlon with 5,455 points.
Torres, a San Luis Obispo High graduate, entered Sunday’s second day of competition in fifth place and remained there.
Torres won the long jump at 19 feet, 6 1⁄2 inches to open the second day, but struggled in the javelin where her best of 119-7 garnered only 600 points. She finished the day by running the 800 in 2 minutes, 28.29 seconds.
Torres’ fifth-place finish gives the Buffaloes four team points for the meet that concludes this upcoming Saturday and Sunday.