Denver Chavez continued his blistering start to the season, and the Cal Poly baseball team kept chugging toward a weekend series at Kansas State by completing a two-game sweep of Holy Cross with an 11-6 victory Wednesday at Baggett Stadium.
After falling behind 5-2 by the middle of the third inning, the Mustangs (11-1) scored nine straight runs before the Crusaders (1-8) got back on the board with a run in the seventh.
Chavez broke the game open with a three-run triple to give Cal Poly a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third. The Mustangs ended up with six runs in the rally and cruised from there.
Chavez finished 3 for 5 with two runs and the three RBI on his first triple of the season. The senior second baseman from Santa Barbara High improved his team-leading batting average to .444 and has hit safely in all but one game this season.
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“I’m just sticking with my approach that I’ve had since the beginning of the season,” Chavez said. “I just try not to get away from that. With the coaches and scouting reports and everything, we prepare for this. I feel like I’ve done all the work before, and I just trust my preparation.”
Mustangs third baseman Jimmy Allen was 3 for 4 with a double, two runs and two RBI and improved his batting average to .286. Right fielder Nick Torres extended his hitting streak to six games, going 2 for 5 with a run-scoring double.
Starting in place of Peter Van Ganssen at shortstop, freshman Mark Mathias got his first collegiate hit and went 2 for 3 with a double, two runs and two RBI.
As successful as the Cal Poly offense was racking up 14 hits — the fourth double-digit hits total of the season and one shy of the season high — the pitching performances are what will propel the Mustangs into the three-game matchup with the Wildcats (8-3).
On a rare week when Cal Poly had to squeeze in five games, the Mustangs were hoping to keep their arms fresh, especially considering Friday’s game in Manhattan, Kan., has been rescheduled into a doubleheader, and they did just that.
Freshman right-hander Casey Bloomquist had an up-and-down collegiate debut.
He was charged with five runs, four earned, on five hits in two innings, but after getting out of an inherited jam with limited damage, sophomore reliever Danny Zandona went three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.
Cal Poly’s top two relievers, Michael Holback and Reed Reilly, together combined for just 21⁄3 innings to close out the game and remain available for the weekend.
Holback and Reilly have yet to allow an earned run in 20 2⁄3 combined innings for a Cal Poly pitching staff that had a team ERA of just 1.38 coming into the game.
The Mustangs’ third reliever off the bench, sophomore lefthander Taylor Chris, pitched 2 2⁄3 in Tuesday’s 6-1 victory over Holy Cross. Chris has yet to allow an earned run in 4 1⁄3 innings.
“We’re good,” Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said. “We limited what Holback and Reilly did. Taylor Chris threw (Tuesday), so he’s available. We’re in good shape.”