Tigers Offense Comes Up Big in Victory Over Cal Poly, 8-3

Credit: Meghan Laurel Photography
Credit: Meghan Laurel Photography

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – An eight-run inning and a grand slam by Ryan Schalch helped carry the University of the Pacific baseball team to victory over Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon, 8-3.

After three scoreless innings, the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead. Bradlee Beesley hit a leadoff double to right center before advancing to third on a ground out to shortstop by Kyle Marinconz. Nick Meyer hit a sacrifice bunt to score Beesley and get the Mustangs on the board.

However, the Tigers answered back in the sixth inning and took control. Kevin Sandri led off with a single to second base to tally the first hit for the Orange and Black. Tyler Ryan was second in line and reached on a fielder's choice to third base which put Sandri out at second. From there, Tarantino reached first and advanced Ryan to second with a single to third base on a bunt.

With two outs, Nate Verlin doubled down the left field line to score Ryan and tie the game 1-1, along with advancing Tarantino to third for the go-ahead run. Lucas Halstead stepped up to the plate and walked to load the bases.

On a 0-1 count, Schalch crushed a two-out homer to left field for the grand slam to score Tarantino, Verlin, and Halstead to give the Tigers a 5-1 lead over the Mustangs.

It did not end there, as Carter Hayes was hit by a pitch to land on first before Cal Poly changed their pitcher for the second time. Hayes stole second to put himself in scoring position and Bradley Jekich walked to place runners on first and second.

Back to the top of the lineup, Sandri picked his pitch and singled to left field to score Hayes and advance Jekich to second before he advanced to third on an error by the Mustang defense.

Needing just one out, Cal Poly made another pitching change but it still did not slow down the Tiger offense. Ryan singled to center field to score Jekich for the 7-1 lead and pushed Sandri to second. James Free stepped up to the plate and followed suit behind Ryan with a single to right field to score Sandri for the final run of the inning to increase the lead, 8-1.

Cal Poly managed to score two more runs to try and catch the Orange and Black but were unable to overcome the deficit, as Pacific ended the game, 8-3.

Sandri lead the offense with three hits in five at-bats, tallying one run and one RBI. Free had two hits in four at-bats with one RBI and one walk. Schalch knocked in four RBI in one hit in three at-bats with one run. Hayes, Jekich, Ryan, Tarantino, Verlin and Halstead each scored a run for the Tigers as well.

Pacific made 10 hits in 36 at-bats scoring eight runs and notching eight RBI in nine innings.

Ricky Reynoso picked up his first win on the season after pitching 6.2 innings striking out six batters and giving up just one run to post a 3.12 ERA. Ryan Shreve relieved Reynoso and pitched 2.1 innings and struck out two. Cam Schneider (0-1) was charged with the loss for Cal Poly.

"Ricky gave us a great start," said head coach Ryan Garko. "I liked the way the offense bounced back after yesterday and had a big inning. Cal Poly is a very, very good team and I'm very happy that our guys found a way to win two here."

Pacific improves to 5-8 on the season while Cal Poly falls to 5-7 overall.

The Tigers return home to Klein Family Field on Tuesday, March 6 to welcome Nevada with first pitch set for 6 p.m.