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Cal Poly Rallies to Beat Hawai'i 7-5 in Big West Series Opener Friday Night

Cal Poly Rallies to Beat Hawai'i 7-5 in Big West Series Opener Friday Night

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Brian Mundell smashed a three-run home run to ignite a come-from-behind rally as Cal Poly overcame a 5-0 deficit and beat Hawai'i 7-5 in the opener of a three-game Big West Conference baseball series Friday night before 1,521 in Baggett Stadium.

Mundell's blast, his fifth of the year, trimmed Hawaii's lead to 5-3 in the fifth inning and Cal Poly added four more in the sixth to take the lead for the first time and held on for the win as Taylor Chris and Danny Zandona both pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Cal Poly improved to 12-18 overall and 2-2 in Big West games while Hawai'i, now 1-8 in road games this season, fell to 12-21 and 3-4.

In the Mustang sixth, two walks and a sacrifice bunt set the stage for a two-run double down the right-field line by Ryan Drobny, tying the game at 5-5. Peter Van Gansen singled through the right side of the Hawai'i infield to break the deadlock and Mundell's sacrifice fly to right tallied an insurance run.

Chris (1-0) allowed just one hit and struck out two for his first decision of the season and Zandona struck out five in two perfect innings for his fifth save.

Mustang starter Casey Bloomquist, who earned wins over USC, Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton in his last three starts, struggled Friday night as Hawai'i scored five times on 11 hits in the first five innings. Bloomquist walked one and struck out three.

The loss went to Matt Valencia (0-2), the second of three Hawai'i pitchers used in the game, as he surrendered the final three runs in the sixth inning. Starter LJ Brewster pitched five-plus innings, giving up four runs and five hits with five walks and three strikeouts.

Despite the loss, Hawai'i outhit Cal Poly 12-7, led by designated hitter Alex Sawelson, left fielder Marcus Doi and catcher Chayce Ka'aua, each with a pair of hits. All 12 Hawai'i hits were singles.

Drobny finished with a single and double, driving in two runs, while Zack Zehner added two singles. Mundell (pictured above) knocked in four runs with his home run and sacrifice fly.

Alex Baldwin's RBI single gave Hawai'i a 1-0 lead in the third inning and a wild pitch plated the fourth-inning marker. The Rainbow Warriors added three more in the fifth for their 5-0 advantage as Kaeo Aliviado and Eric Ramirez produced RBI singles and Sawelson's groundout added another run.

Cal Poly is now 6-9 at home and 6-9 on the road.

Second game of the series will be played Saturday night at 6 with freshman southpaw Kyle Smith (2-5, 3.76 ERA) of Cal Poly to face Hawai'i junior right-hander Tyler Brashears (4-3, 2.49 ERA).

The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 o'clock.