SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Junior catcher Nick Meyer's single through the left side of the UC Davis infield knocked in the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth inning, lifting Cal Poly to an 8-7 victory over the Aggies in the opener of a Big West Conference baseball series Friday night inside Baggett Stadium.
The Mustangs, who led 2-1 after four innings, rallied from 5-2 and 7-5 deficits for the win, improving to 15-17 for the season and 2-5 in Big West games.
UC Davis fell to 9-19 and 2-5.
Junior center fielder Alex McKenna produced the third four-hit game of his Mustang career with three singles and a triple as Cal Poly outhit UC Davis 14-11. Junior shortstop Kyle Marinconz, senior left fielder Colby Barrick (pictured at left) and Meyer (pictured above) each had a pair of hits.
McKenna, Marinconz and freshman first baseman Tate Samuelson all knocked in a pair of runs.
UC Davis was led offensively by shortstop Tanner Murray, designated hitter Ryan Anderson, catcher Logan Denholm and left fielder Alex Aguiar, all with two hits.
Freshman southpaw Matt Arens (1-0) earned his first career collegiate victory, securing five outs before surrendering a walk and a hit with two outs in the ninth.
Junior right-hander Cam Schneider, Cal Poly's seventh pitcher of the game, gave up another walk as the Aggies loaded the bases, but struck out Ryan Hooper to secure his second save of the year.
The loss went to Connor Loar (1-2), the last of four UC Davis pitchers, as he gave up a run and two hits in two innings.
A sacrifice fly by Nick DiCarlo and McKenna's RBI single gave Cal Poly a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning.
Trailing 5-2, the Mustangs scored three times in the sixth. McKenna tripled and came home on a double by Marinconz. Samuelson doubled to left-center field to drive in two and tie the game at 5-5.
After UC Davis regained the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh, Cal Poly answered with two of its own in the bottom of the seventh on similar RBI singles through the right side of the Aggie infield by McKenna and Marinconz.
Samuelson drew a walk leading off the eighth, took second on Barrick's first sacrifice bunt of the season, advanced to third on Josh George's comebacker and came home on Meyer's single to left field.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with Cal Poly senior southpaw Trent Shelton (1-2, 3.53 ERA) to face UC Davis freshman right-hander Jared Sasaki (2-3, 5.29 ERA).
Sunday's series finale begins at 1 o'clock.
Photos courtesy of Alexander Bohlen