Cal Poly

Cal Poly baseball team to close out 2016 season this weekend against UC Davis

The Cal Poly baseball team is scheduled to play its final Big West Conference series this weekend when the Mustangs host UC Davis in a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Cal Poly baseball team is scheduled to play its final Big West Conference series this weekend when the Mustangs host UC Davis in a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Cal Poly baseball team will close out an up-and-down season this weekend when the Mustangs play host to UC Davis in a three-game series at Baggett Stadium.

Sophomore left-hander Kyle Smith will likely make his final start of the year during the 6 p.m. series opener Thursday. Smith (5-6) has gone 1-5 over his last six starts and hopes to set a positive tone against an Aggies team that is last in the Big West Conference standings.

Cal Poly (30-24, 10-11 Big West) is coming off a series loss at UC Riverside last week. Closing that series with a 6-4 victory ended a string of eight consecutive road losses in conference play, a stretch that included sweeps at Long Beach State and CSUN.

UC Davis (16-34, 4-17 Big West) comes to San Luis Obispo on the heels of a seven-game losing streak. Three times this season the Aggies have gone through skids of losing five or more games in a row, and their only Big West series win came against UC Santa Barbara earlier this month.

Redshirt freshman Robert Garcia is scheduled to make his 11th start of the season Thursday night. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound lefty owns a 3-4 record with a 2.71 ERA and has held opponents to a .202 batting average.

Garcia will be facing a Mustang offense that’s averaged seven runs per game over the last two weeks.

Veterans Brett Barbier (.359 batting average) and John Schuknecht (Big West-leading 44 RBI) continue to lead Cal Poly at the plate. Junior third baseman Michael Sanderson also has quietly been one of the most productive Mustangs as well.

Sanderson went 7 for 13 with one double and three RBI against the Highlanders last week, raising his batting average to .295. The junior college transfer is one of three players to start all 54 games this season — along with Barbier and freshman Kyle Marinconz — and is the only player to start every game at the same position.

Friday’s matchup is set for a 6 p.m. start, and will feature Cal Poly sophomore Erich Uelmen (5-2) taking on UC Davis senior Spencer Henderson (1-5).

According the Cal Poly’s weekly news release, the Mustangs haven’t determined a starting pitcher for Saturday’s season finale. He will be paired against Aggies’ senior Nat Hamby (3-6).

Big West Conference Baseball

Who: Cal Poly (29-22, 9-9) vs. UC Davis (16-34, 10-11)

When: 6 p.m. Thursday; 6 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Baggett Stadium

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