Cal Poly

Cal Poly baseball blanks Wichita State, clinches 1st series win, 4th straight victory

Spencer Howard and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout and 14 strikeouts as the Cal Poly baseball team earned its first series win of the 2017 season, blanking Wichita State 3-0 in a nonconference game Saturday night before 1,441 at Baggett Stadium.

Howard (1-0) recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and scattered three hits over seven innings while Trent Shelton and Michael Clark each tossed one inning in relief — Clark picked up his second save of the year — for the Mustangs.

With its fourth straight win, Cal Poly improves to 7-11 for the season and, with Friday’s 13-inning 5-4 triumph, clinched the series. Wichita State fell to 10-8.

Mustang pitchers have recorded 33 strikeouts in the first two games of the series, giving up just three walks over 22 innings. Howard, who allow one walk in his 104-pitch performance, lowered his ERA to 1.27.

Cal Poly’s offense came from the top five hitters in the order.

The Mustangs scored twice in the first inning on a safety squeeze bunt by catcher Nick Meyer and an RBI triple by shortstop Kyle Marinconz.

Cal Poly added an insurance run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Josh George.

Sophomore center fielder Alex McKenna singled three times and is now 11-for-21 (.526) since moving to the leadoff spot in the Mustang batting order five games ago, lifting his season batting average to .377.

Junior right fielder Colby Barrick added two hits as part of Cal Poly’s seven-hit offensive attack.

Wichita State twice had two runners on base — in the second and sixth innings — but Howard secured the final out each time on grounders to first base.

Second baseman Luke Ritter singled twice for Wichita State.

Final game of the series will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday with Cal Poly sophomore right-hander Cam Schneider (1-0, 4.05 ERA) to face Wichita State senior right-hander Zach Lewis (0-1, 6.75 ERA).