Early Lead Disappears In 7-4 Loss At Cal Poly

Michael Breen (pictured) and Ozzy Braff each had two-hit nights.
April 1, 2016

Box Score

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – In a game that featured 22 hits and three errors, it was host Cal Poly that gritted out a 7-4 victory over San José State on Friday night at a chilly Baggett Stadium.

With the win, Cal Poly (17-7) improved to 12-2 at home on the season, while San José State (8-17) was denied its first series-opening victory of the campaign. The Mustangs out-hit the Spartans, 12-10, and committed two errors to the Spartans’ one.

San José State took advantage of an early Cal Poly error on the way to a two-run first inning. Mustang starter Kyle Smith (W, 4-1) fanned Aaron Pleschner to start the game and got Joe Stefanki to ground a ball to short, but shortstop Dylan Doherty’s throw landed in the Spartans’ dugout, moving Stefanki to second. Ozzy Braff worked the count full and blasted a grooved fastball into the left center gap to score Stefanki. Shane Timmons followed up with an RBI double of his own to give the Spartans an early 2-0 lead.

After Brendt Citta led off the next frame with a double down the third base line, Michael Breen laid down a well-placed bunt that Smith fielded but threw away, allowing Citta to score.

Cal Poly responded with three hits in the bottom of the second, but a terrific backhand by Breen in the 5-6 hole stranded the bases loaded and kept the damage to a lone run.

In the top of the third, Braff smoked a leadoff double down the left field line, giving him two doubles in his first two at-bats. He advanced to third on on a passed ball by the catcher Nick Meyer before scoring on Josh Nashed’s soft single to right, giving the Spartans a 4-1 lead.

The Mustangs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third, but Graham Gomez (L, 1-2) rolled an RBI 4-6-3 double play that looked to prevent the big inning. Cal Poly had other ideas, however, as Alec Smith tripled home a run and Josh George doubled in Smith with the tying run, and chased Gomez in the process. Hilario Tovar entered and was greeted by a Meyer RBI single to right center, giving Cal Poly a 5-4 lead - its first of the game.

Two more Cal Poly runs in the fifth, aided in part by a Spartan error, made it a 7-4 ballgame and gave Smith all the cushion he would need. The sophomore southpaw rebounded from a shaky first three innings to post a final line of 7.1 innings pitched, three earned runs on eight hits while striking out six.

For San José State, Gomez tossed 2.2 innings and yielded five runs on seven hits while walking a pair. Tovar allowed a pair of unearned runs in 4.0 innings and struck out four while giving up five hits. Jonathan Hernandez was the most effective pitcher on the night, as he worked the final 1.1 innings without allowing a hit.

The Spartans’ middle infield – Braff and Breen – collected two hits each. Timmons’ first-inning double extended his reached-base streak to 18 games, and Braff saw his reach 13.  

Game two of the series gets underway from Baggett Stadium on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Cal Poly will send Jarred Zill (1-1, 4.66 ERA) to the mound, while San José State has not announced a starter.

Cal Poly 7, San Jose State 4 (Apr 01, 2016 at San Luis Obispo, CA)
San Jose State...... 211 000 000 - 4 10 1 (8-17)
Cal Poly............ 014 020 00X - 7 14 2 (17-7)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Gomez, Graham; TOVAR, Hilario(3); HERNANDEZ, Jonathan(7) and
Stefanki, Joe. Cal Poly - Smith, Kyle; Calomeni, Justin(8) and Meyer, Nick.
Win-Smith, Kyle(4-1) Save-Calomeni, Justin(4) Loss-GOMEZ, Graham(1-2) T-2:53 A-1269
Weather: Clear, cool, 62 deg., 15-25 NW