Junior Erich Uelmen matched his career high with 10 strikeouts and Cal Poly outlasted Wichita State 5-4 in 13 innings during a nonconference baseball game Friday night at Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs won their third consecutive game and got the game-winning hit from sophomore shortstop Kyle Marinconz with two outs in the bottom of the 13th. Catcher Nick Meyer started the rally with a two-out single, and Marinconz hit a walk-off triple to left center field to seal the victory.
“They’re a very good ball club,” head coach Larry Lee said. “They threw out some very good arms against us, good velocity, good off speed stuff. We just kind of hung in there.”
Cal Poly (6-11) provided the hard-throwing Uelmen with the most run support he’s received since the Feb. 18 season opener.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Uelmen entered Friday’s contest having pitched more than 20 consecutive innings without the Mustangs scoring a run offensively.
That changed against the visiting Shockers (10-7) on a night when Uelmen was at his best.
Uelmen allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings and struck out 10 against one walk. It was the second time this season Uelmen struck out 10 opposing hitters, and he left the game with a 4-2 lead.
“You don’t have to go out and do too much,” Uelmen said of the run support. “You’re not trying to press and feel like you can’t give up anything. Definitely good to have some runs behind you.”
But when Uelmen left the game with a runner on first in the eighth inning, Wichita State promptly jumped on Mustangs reliever Craig Colen when Luke Ritter hit a no-doubt two-run home run to tie the score.
It would stay that way until Marinconz’s game-winning triple, his third hit of the game.
How they scored:
Josh George staked Cal Poly to an early 1-0 lead when he drove in leadoff hitter Alex McKenna with his team-leading 13th RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Mustangs showed a knack for timely hitting during a three-run fourth inning. Cal Poly tallied four consecutive two-out hits, including an RBI single off the bat of first baseman Elijah Skipps.
Junior college transfer Colby Barrick — who played the previous two seasons at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria — followed with a two-run double down the left field line, giving the Mustangs a 4-1 advantage.
“We’re getting better as a team and we play hard,” Lee said. “At times we play well, at times we don’t, but the effort’s good.”
Meyer (2-for-6), Marinconz (3-for-6), Michael Sanderson (2-for-5) and Barrick (3-for-5) each tallied multiple hits to lead Cal Poly offensively.
Relievers Trent Shelton, Slater Lee and Michael Clark allowed three hits over the final 5 2/3 scoreless innings to put away the Shockers. Clark was credited with the pitching victory.
Cal Poly and Wichita State will meet in the second game of the series at 6 p.m. Saturday. The series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday inside Baggett Stadium.