The Cal Poly baseball team picked up a couple of strange wins last week, but it continued its up-and-down season on the wrong side of a home series.
Cal Poly (8-12) lost two of three to No. 25 San Diego State with the team's only win coming on a wild pitch in the 10th inning of Saturday's game for a 5-4 walk-off. The win came five days after Cal Poly beat New Mexico at home, 5-4 — on another walk-off wild pitch in the 10th.
Saturday's win was bracketed by a 9-7 loss Friday and a 3-2 loss Sunday to SDSU.
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Cal Poly hasn't had the best offensive production this season, averaging nearly five runs per game in 12 games this month, but so far the inexperienced pitching staff and lack of defensive consistency is hurting the Mustangs.
Cal Poly has 33 errors through 20 games this season and has a team ERA of 5.16, with most of the damage coming from the bullpen. The Mustangs have also turned 16 double plays this season while hitting into 30.
The starting pitchers — freshman Darren Nelson, senior Trent Shelton and junior Michael Clark — have a combined 3.70 ERA with Nelson leading the way (2.92). And the rotation should get better with the return of junior Jarred Zill. The righty made his first start in more than a year Friday and played well, giving up one earned run in four innings of work. The two bright spots in the bullpen have been freshman lefty Matt Arens and freshman righty Taylor Dollard.
Arens has a 1.46 ERA and seven strikeouts in 12.1 innings, while Taylor has 19 strikeouts in 17.1 innings and a 2.60 ERA. With Zill moving in, that means one starter should move to middle relief, an area where Cal Poly has struggled so far this season.
MLB prospects Alex McKenna and Nick Meyer are living up to the preseason hype so far. The juniors are each hitting over .300 (McKenna .305, Meyer .310). McKenna also made a spectacular diving catch Sunday, and it was Meyer, who had four hits on Saturday, who capitalized on both wild pitches to give Cal Poly wins on Saturday and last Monday.
Cal Poly has one more home stand — Thursday, Friday and Saturday against Dartmouth — before starting Big West play on the road against CSUN on March 29.
Beach Volleyball Keeps Rolling
The Cal Poly beach volleyball team went 2-0 over the weekend with wins over No. 10 Arizona and TCU in its first home matches of the season.
Arroyo Grande High School graduate and partner Samantha Manley, Cal Poly's No. 2 pair, won both of their matches to move to 14-0 on the season.
Even with the win over a ranked team, Cal Poly (12-2) dropped one spot to No. 7 in the latest AVCA Poll.
Cal Poly has won nine in a row and is off to the best start in the program's four-year history.
Cal Poly dedicates new track
The newly renovated track at the Cal Poly track and field complex will be dedicated Saturday as the Steve Miller Track and Steve Miller & John Capriotti Athletics Facility.
The dedication ceremony will be held at 1:40 p.m. during the 36th annual Cal Poly ShareSLO Invitational.
Miller, a five-time national championship-winning head coach for Cal Poly from 1976-81, has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Track & Field since 2015. Capriotti, an All-American for the Mustangs in 1978, was appointed Vice President and Global Director of Athletics/Running Track and Field at Nike in 2010. Both have been leading donors toward the renovation of the complex.
The new track has been a big hit with Cal Poly athletes and even local running legend Jordan Hasay.
"New track surface is amazing," Hasay posted on Instagram last month.