Cal Poly sweeps UCSB

Updated: May 21, 2017

Cal Poly baseball is finally playing the way they’re capable of. After sweeping rival UCSB, Cal Poly has won six of their first seven series against Big West opponents, moving their conference record to 14-7, after a 12-20 non-conference record. After starting the season just 11-18, the Mustangs would finish with a .500 or better record if they win their final series this weekend at home versus UC Riverside. 

Bradlee Beesley has found a way to be consistently productive at third base during Big West play. By Owen Main

So, this is the formula…

Larry Lee’s team got really hot in Goleta this weekend. Erich Uelmen and Spencer Howard posted back-to-back 8-inning gems on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Cal Poly showed their pitching depth as Trent Shelton went six strong innings for the win.

 All three pitchers got tons of run support, too. The Mustang mashers put up 27 combined runs on the Gauchos over the three games. Cal Poly was led by many of their hitters, but none has heated-up like shortstop Kyle Marinconz. The junior went 9-15 in the series with two home runs, 6 RBIs, and four runs. 

Not to be out-done, Elijah Skipps belted two homers and drove in six runs on Sunday. Skipps scored four times on the weekend. Freshman Scott Ogrin managed a 5-13 weekend with five runs of his own and catcher Nick Meyer — just a home run shy of the cycle on Friday — ended the weekend 6-12. 

Really the whole Cal Poly lineup seemed to wake up in a big way. It was the first time maybe all season that pitchers and batters combined to have a great weekend at the same time. 

Too little, too late

At the beginning of the season I wrote about how and why I thought Cal Poly would make a regional. Given their early season woes, the Mustangs would have had to win the Big West in order to make the tournament. Long Beach State had other ideas and clinched the conference title with a win over Hawai’i today. 

Cal Poly will finish in either second or third place in the Big West. With a winning non-conference record, that could have been good enough for an NCAA Tournament at-large birth in most years. 2017 seems to be a season where only two Big West teams — Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton — will likely get an invitation to the postseason. 

Had they had a better early-season record, things could be different. Instead, Cal Poly is playing with a winning record on the line in their final weekend. 

Final series

Seniors Michael Sanderson, Brett Binning, Kevin Morgan, Alec Smith, and Slater Lee are all sure to be honored during the upcoming weekend at Baggett Stadium, but this could be the final collegiate series for some other talented juniors on the roster.

Friday and Saturday starting pitchers Erich Uelmen and Spencer Howard are both draft eligible following the season and are possibilities to be selected in a low single digit round. Trent Shelton, Colby Barrick, and Elijah Skipps are also juniors who teams may have their eyes on. Other juniors on the Cal Poly roster include Kyle Smith, Jarred Zill, and Josh George.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned covering college baseball the past few years, it’s that you’ve got to enjoy watching guys while you can.  Senior seasons are not a given for college baseball players. Have fun watching them, while you still can. 

Photos by Owen Main —