The Cal Poly men’s tennis team edged UC Santa Barbara 4-3 on Saturday in the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The top-seeded Mustangs (9-13), who’ve rebounded from an 0-7 start to the season, will face UC Irvine in the championship match at 9 this morning.
The No. 2 seed Anteaters advanced from their semifinal with a 4-1 win over Pacific.
Cal Poly won the previous meeting between the two this year, 5-2 on the road April 10. If the Mustangs win, it will snare the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since moving to the Division I level.
On Saturday, the Mustangs evened the match at the No. 3 singles spot when Drew Jacobs defeated Alex Konigsfeldt 6-3, 6-0 and took a 2-1 lead when Rob Foy vanquished Scott Hohenstein 6-1, 6-4. Jordan Bridge, manning the No. 1 spot, then prevailed 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 over Philip Therp.
After a Gauchos rally, Brian McPhee came from behind for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory to clinch the contest.
Long Beach State 4, Cal Poly 2
The fourth-seeded Mustangs (16-7) fell to the top-seeded 49ers in the Big West semifinals in Indian Wells, as Long Beach State (19-5) kept alive its bid to win its seventh straight conference title.
At No. 1 doubles, Cal Poly’s tandem of Brittany Blalock and Suzie Matzenauer improved to 17-3 by downing Jaklin Alawi and Rachel Manasse 8-5.
In singles, Matzenauer ousted Anais Dallara 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, and Alexa Lee dispatched Anna Jeczmionka 6-4, 6-4.
Cal Poly 8, Long Beach State 4
The bottom of the lineup did the damage for the Mustangs (11-27, 4-10 Big West), who evened the three-game series at Baggett Stadium thanks in large part to their No. 8 and 9 hitters, Denver Chavez and J.J. Thompson.
With a win today, injury-riddled Cal Poly — which entered having lost 21 of its past 25 outings — would win a weekend series for the first time this season.
Chavez, playing for the second time this year, was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBI while Thompson went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. Luke Yoder and Jordan Hadlock, meanwhile, accounted for two doubles apiece in the win.
Right-hander DJ Mauldin (3-2) tossed the first 52⁄3 innings for Cal Poly, picking up the win after walking six batters, striking out two and yielding five hits. Jeff Johnson hurled 31⁄3 shutout relief innings to pick up the save.
The Dirtbags dropped to 20-19 overall, 7-7 in the Big West.
TRACK AND FIELD
Men: Cal Poly 101, UC Santa Barbara 98; Women: UCSB 126, Cal Poly 76
Taylor Herrera led the Mustangs men at the home dual, winning the 100 meters in a Big West Conference-qualifying 10.49 seconds and the 200 in 22.36. Cal Poly’s Korben Boaz, a Nipomo High grad, won the men’s discus throw at 156-5.
On the women’s side, Jasmine Pickett was also a multiple-event winner, taking the long jump at 19 feet, 53⁄4 inches and the triple jump at 41-101⁄4. Also for Cal Poly, Brienna Morris posted the second-best 3,000 steeplechase time in school history, clocking a second-place time of 10:47.85.