SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Grand Canyon overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits with a four-run fifth-inning rally and pulled away for a 10-4 baseball victory over Cal Poly in the home opener for the Mustangs on Friday night before 2,108 in Baggett Stadium.
Despite being outhit 10-9, the visiting Antelopes improved to 5-0 on the year while Cal Poly fell to 1-4. The Mustangs lost a home opener for the first time in five years.
Cal Poly has not been outhit in any of its five games this season. Despite a 55-40 advantage in hits and a .297 team batting average, equaling last year's number (best in the Big West), the Mustangs have been able to win only once.
Junior right-hander Casey Bloomquist (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two. Six Mustang relievers followed Bloomquist to the mound.
Andrew Naderer (2-0) gave up four runs (three earned) and seven hits in five innings for the win with two walks and six strikeouts. Zebastian Valenzuela secured four outs for his first save.
Cal Poly's 10 hits included a double by sophomore outfielder Kevin Morgan and two singles each by junior first baseman Brian Mundell and senior outfielder Zack Zehner. Mundell left the game in the seventh inning due to a leg injury while trying to run to first base on a grounder to shortstop.
Shortstop Paul Panaccione led Grand Canyon offensively with three singles and three RBI. Right fielder Garrison Schwartz added a single and double, also knocking in three runs.
Cal Poly scored twice in the second inning. Junior shortstop Peter Van Gansen singled in the first run and sophomore designated hitter Brett Barbier was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the second run.
After Grand Canyon scored a run in the top of the third, Cal Poly re-established its two-run cushion in the bottom of the third on junior second baseman Ryan Drobny's RBI single up the middle.
Grand Canyon grabbed the lead for good with a four-run fifth highlighted by Panaccione's two-run single through the left side of the Cal Poly infield.
Cal Poly answered with one in the fifth on sophomore catcher Jake Lesinski's single to right-center field.
After Grand Canyon scored twice in the seventh for a 7-4 lead, Cal Poly put together one more scoring opportunity in the eighth, loading the bases on a hit batter, a walk and senior third baseman Tommy Pluschkell's infield single. Zehner (pictured above), however, flied out to deep center field to end the threat.
Grand Canyon added three insurance runs in the ninth, two of the runs coming home on Schwartz's single through the right side of the Mustang infield.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 o'clock with Cal Poly freshman southpaw Kyle Smith to face Grand Canyon senior right-hander Coley Bruns.