LONG BEACH, Calif. - Six unanswered runs from Cal Poly (21-24, 9-5 Big West) earned the Mustangs a crucial 6-3 win over No. 8 Long Beach State (29-15-1, 14-3 Big West) on Saturday afternoon at Blair Field. LBSU took an early lead on a two-run home run from junior catcher David Banuelos, but the Dirtbags couldn’t make the lead hold up as Cal Poly evened the three-game series.
Banuelos delivered his seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the second inning, scoring Luke Rasmussen ahead of him to make it 2-0 Dirtbags. Banuelos trailed 0-2 in the count before working it full and carrying the 3-2 pitch over the left field wall. The junior catcher led the Dirtbags with two hits on the day, and Rasmussen scored a pair of runs. Laine Huffman’s RBI double off the base of the left field wall scored Rasmussen to give LBSU its third run of the day, but it wasn’t enough to complete a late comeback.
Cal Poly scored six unanswered runs to earn the key conference win, including a three-spot in the seventh inning. The Mustangs tied the game on solo home runs in the third and sixth innings off Dirtbags starter John Sheaks, then took the lead with a two-out rally in the seventh. Reliever Eli Villalobos got two quick outs in the seventh before issuing a walk. The next batter struck out swinging, but a passed ball allowed the runner to reach base and the inning to continue. Cal Poly then hit a two-run double and an RBI single to make it 5-2, and would add an insurance run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
LBSU can still win its seventh straight series with a victory in Sunday’s rubber match. It will be RHP Dave Smith (5-1, 1.65 ERA) going against RHP Bobby Ay (1-4, 4.89 ERA) with first pitch set for 1 p.m.
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