Cal Poly drops game 1 to UCSB

April 5, 2014

UCSB HR TrotCal Poly ace Matt Imhof entered Friday’s series opener against 17th-ranked UC Santa Barbara with a 1.05 ERA, a feature on him in Baseball America and talk of the junior lefty going in the first round of June’s Major League Baseball draft. After three and a third innings, three walks, five hits and two wind-aided Santa Barbara home runs, Imhof left Friday’s game.

The sun had not even set in San Luis Obispo and 5th-ranked Cal Poly was trailing 7-2 with their star pitcher knocked out of the opening game of a pivotal Big West series.

But, the Mustangs battled back, powered by senior catcher Chris Hoo’s three run homer in the bottom of the fourth, and nearly tied the game the next inning. Poly left twelve men on base, though, and squandered several opportunities to tie or take the lead, losing to Santa Barbara 8-6 before a capacity crowd Friday night at Baggett Stadium.

In the loss, Mustang hitters pounded out twelve hits, led by Hoo, who was 3 for 4 with four RBIS. Hoo raised his batting average above .300 in the game.

Second baseman Mark Mathias, the team’s leading hitter, also contributed three hits, raising his average to .370.

Imhof suffered his second loss of the season, surrendering seven runs, six of which were earned. After Santa Barbara hitters reached base in the fourth inning on an error and a bloop single, Gaucho designated hitter Robby Nesovic and first baseman Tyler Kuresa hit back to back home runs off of Imhof.

Both homers likely would not have cleared the wall if it were not for a 20-30 mph gusting wind blowing out to left. The wind died down in the second half of the game, and relief pitching tamed both teams’ offenses.

Cal Poly is now 24-5 overall and 3-1 in the Big West. Santa Barbara is 20-5 and 2-2 in the Big West.

Saturday’s game will pit Cal Poly freshman righty Justin Calomeni against Santa Barbara sophomore southpaw Justin Jacome. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bagget Stadium.