Monday, May 11, 2009

Mustangs Avert Sweep

After dropping the first two games of its series against Cal State Fullerton, the Cal Poly baseball team was searching for redemption. Wes Dorrell found plenty of it Sunday by making up for a slip-up of his own.

In the bottom of the third inning, Dorrell had a triple in hand, then glanced into right field at Baggett Stadium and tried to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run, only to be thrown out at home. But two innings later, he took the leg work out of it, blasting a solo home run over the same right-field wall to give 12th-ranked Cal Poly a 5-2 lead on the way to a 7-4 win.

“It was kind of my fault,” Dorrell said of the failed inside-the-park try. “I kind of gave up around third. I didn’t think I was going to be sent home because I don’t have the most speed, so I hesitated coming around. If I hadn’t done that, I probably would’ve been safe. And then, the next at-bat, I just stayed shorter, tried to get a pitch to hit, and hit it well.”

The win not only prevented a sweep, but also what would’ve been the Mustangs’ first four-game losing skid of the year.

“We responded very well,” Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said. “Over the course of the whole series, we played well. (The Titans) are one of the better Division I programs in the country, year-in, year-out. There’s no difference this year.”

Dorrell re-established a three-run Mustangs lead with an RBI double to left-center in the bottom of the seventh. Kyle Smith added an RBI single later in the inning to give Cal Poly (33-15, 11-7 Big West Conference) a 7-3 lead.

A solo homer by Nick Ramirez in the top of the eighth completed the scoring.

Mason Radeke (5-1) yielded nine hits, struck out five batters and walked just two in a career-best eight innings.

“I struggled a little bit with my command early, but got it dialed in toward the end,” Radeke said. “I just got in a groove. My slider felt better.”

Radeke, a 6-foot, 170-pound true freshman right-hander from Santa Barbara High, tossed a career-best 130 pitches.

“He’s one of those guys who’s not scared,” Lee said. “We’re pretty strong with him at the tail end of a three-game series.”

Eric Massingham picked up the save, allowing just one hit in the ninth inning. Pill Tyler (8-2) suffered the loss, giving up six earned runs and nine hits through 6 2⁄3 innings. He struck out three batters and walked one.

Christian Colon led the sixth-ranked Titans (36-13, 14-7 Big West) by going 3 for 5. Ramirez cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the sixth on an RBI double. The Titans lost for just the second time in 15 contests.

With the win, Cal Poly, which fell 8-4 on Friday and 7-3 on Saturday, likely stayed in the neighborhood of its RPI of 45 entering the week. The Mustangs, in the hunt for their first postseason berth since moving to the Division I level in 1995, assumed sole possession of third place in the Big West by virtue of Long Beach State (24-23, 10-8 Big West) losing 11-9 to UC Santa Barbara.

Dorrell finished 3 for 4 with two RBI, and Smith added a 3-for-4, three-RBI performance.

“We hope today got Wes back in the mix,” Lee said. “(The win) gives us that confidence back going into the final two weeks.”

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