The Cal Poly baseball team played as if every run counted in its continuing longshot pursuit of a postseason berth.
Mitch Haniger and Chris Hoo each hit three-run home runs, and Joey Wagman struck out a career high 11 in the Mustangs’ 11-2 victory over UC Riverside on Friday, the first of the final three-game Big West Conference series of the season.
Cal Poly (34-20, 14-8 Big West) moved into a second-place tie in the conference standings with Long Beach State and still has an opportunity to finish in a three-way tie for first. But the Mustangs are mathematically eliminated from earning the conference’s automatic berth to an NCAA regional and will have to rely on the selection committee for an at-large spot.
Ranked 74th in the country in RPI coming into Friday’s game, it doesn’t appear likely Cal Poly will be one of the 64 NCAA Tournament teams, but the only way the Mustangs can help their cause is to continue winning — just as they’ve now done in 12 of the past 15 games.
Never miss a local story.
After Alex Michaels tripled and David Armendariz broke a scoreless tie with an RBI bunt single in the top of the second, Hoo put Cal Poly ahead 4-0 with his home run later in the inning.
The Mustangs stretched their lead over the Highlanders (22-30, 9-13 Big West) to 6-1 going into the eighth inning, when Tim Wise hit a bases-loaded, one-out sacrifice fly and Haniger homered in the next at-bat to make it 10-1.
Haniger was 3 for 4. Hoo, Wise and Nick Torres were each 2 for 4. Michaels was 2 for 3, and Jimmy Allen was 2 for 5 with a double and a triple.
Half of Cal Poly’s 16 hits went for extra bases as Wise, Torres and pinch-hitter Jordan Ellis each doubled.
Coming off his first career complete game at either the college or high school varsity levels, Wagman pitched eight innings, scattering six hits and a walk and allowed only one run. He improved to 9-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.33.
Danny Zandona came on in relief to allow one run in the ninth.
Dome, Fawcett fall in round of 16
Cal Poly’s doubles team of Andre Dome and Matt Fawcett lost 7-6, 6-3 in the round of 16 to Kentucky’s Panav Jha and Eric Quigley in the NCAA Men’s Doubles Championships in Athens, Ga.
Dome and Fawcett, who finished the season 12-2, upset the 13th-ranked team of Jonas Lutjen and Nik Scholtz from Mississippi on Thursday before falling to the seventh-ranked team of Jha and Quigley.
Dome, seeded 41st in singles, lost to No. 3 seed Quigley in Wednesday’s opening round of singles.
TRACK AND FIELD
NCAA West Regional
Cal Poly’s Whitney Sisler finished in sixth place in the women’s high jump after clearing a season-best height of 5 feet, 10 3⁄4 inches at the meet in Austin, Texas, qualifying for her second NCAA Championships in the past three seasons.
Sisler cleared the same height as the five women who finished in front of her. The top 12 finishers in each event qualify for the NCAA meet, which is June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Cal Poly’s LeAnne Fogg finished in 32nd place in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, and on the men’s side, Eric Surprenant placed 15th in the 400 with a career-best time of 51.62.
Today, Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, a Mission Prep graduate, will be seeking her third straight trip to the NCAA meet in the women’s 1,500, and Cal Poly’s Kyle Inks and John Prader will be seeking their first-ever berths in the NCAA men’s pole vault.