A ball lost in the lights. That was the difference for the Cal Poly baseball team on Saturday night as a miscue by Nick Torres in right field cost the Mustangs three runs in their NCAA Regional matchup against UCLA. The Bruins tied the game at four runs apiece in the sixth inning after Torres allowed a two-out fly ball to drop behind him with the bases loaded. UCLA went on to win the game 6-4 after tacking on two runs in the seventh inning.
The Mustangs jumped all over UCLA pitcher Nick Vander Tuig in the first inning as the first two Cal Poly batters reached on back-to-back singles. Torres drove in the first Cal Poly run with a sacrifice fly and Jimmy Allen plated a second run with a rip down the left-field line.
The Cal Poly bats kept the pressure on Vander Tuig, scoring runs in the third and fourth innings, while starting pitcher Matt Imhof cruised through the Bruins batters. He had a no-hitter through five innings before he said he began tipping his pitches and UCLA took advantage. The first three Bruins reached in the sixth inning before he forced a sacrifice fly. Imhof nearly got out of the inning on a double-play ball up the middle, but second baseman Denver Chavez couldn’t pull the ball out of his glove and the bases became loaded again.
Head coach Larry Lee then elected to pull Imhof in favor of Reed Reilly, traditionally a closer, who struck out the first Bruin he faced then forced a fly ball to Torres in right field. The sophomore initially tracked in and appeared to have the ball in his sights before turning around and running toward the wall, clearly having lost the ball.
Beneath is a live blog that was updated throughout Saturday night.
A storm is Bruin.
One day after winning its first postseason game at the Division I level, the Cal Poly baseball team will return to the diamond to face UCLA in the second game of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional at 6 p.m. The winner will have the opportunity to wrap up a spot in the Super Regionals with another victory on Sunday evening.
The Mustangs will have sophomore southpaw Matt Imhof on the mound against the Bruins. He compiled a 7-3 record this season and owns a 2.52 ERA, the best of the Mustangs’ starting pitchers.
This post will be updated with inning recaps and video highlights throughout the game, but you can also follow us on Twitter and tweet along with us.
San Diego just defeated San Diego State, which eliminates the Aztecs and gives the Toreros a glimmer of hope. The loser of the Cal Poly vs. UCLA game will face San Diego on Sunday morning.
There has been a little bit of talk about this game being the biggest baseball game in Cal Poly history. The team had some great seasons as a Division II team, but today’s matchup is on a different level.
The pitchers tonight are Matt Imhof (7-3, 2.52 ERA) for Cal Poly and Nick Vander Tuig (10-4, 2.30 ERA) for UCLA.
The Mustangs are the nominal home team tonight so Imhof is dealing on the mound to start the game. Het mows the Bruins down in order with a strike out, ground out and ground out.
The first two Mustangs reached and Mundell worked the count full before striking out. Jordan Ellis’ singled after Denver Chavez to start the game, but the only reason it got through was due to Chavez breaking for second base on a hit and run. Chavez scored on a Nick Torres sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Jimmy Allen jumped all over a pitch from Vander Tuig and ripped it down the third base line for a double that scored Ellis. Mustangs lead 2-0 early. David Armendariz grounded out to second base to end the inning, but Larry Lee had dreams of a first inning that didn’t go as well as that. Cal Poly has put the heat on UCLA early.
Matt Imhof is back on the mound and still dealing the heat. He got the first UCLA batter to fly out to right field, struck out the second batter then walked a man. He’s gotten behind in a couple counts and that one came back to bite him. Just as I write that, Imhof uses three pitches to strike out a Bruins hitter to end the inning.
The Mustangs put two runners on with two outs in the second inning, but Jordan Ellis grounded out to end the threat.
Matt Imhof is on cruise control. One Bruins batter has reached through three innings and the Mustangs are back at the plate.
Brian Mundell singled to start the bottom of the third.
— Mustang Daily Sports (@MDailySports) June 2, 2013
Following a walk to Torres, the hot hand Jimmy Allen is digging in again. He’s 5 for 6 in the postseason with 3 RBIs.
#Jinxed Allen pops up a bunt behind home plate for the first out.
Armendariz makes up for an awkward moment when he thought he took ball three and got halfway to first base only to be brought back. He singled on the next pitch and brought in another run.
Van Gansen absolutely ripped a ball to right field with the bases loaded, but UCLA’s Eric Filia had a good jump on it and caught the ball for the third out of the inning.
Imhof is having absolutely no issues with the Bruins, even during the second time through the order. Only one UCLA batter has reached base.
Denver Chavez is giving the Bruins pitcher Vander Tuig fits on the basepaths. He swiped second on a strikeout of Ellis to bring Mundell to the plate. Mundell grounded weakly to the pitcher, but Torres drove a two-out RBI single to left field and the Mustangs are now on top 4-0.
— Mustang Daily Sports (@MDailySports) June 2, 2013
It’ll be interesting to see how long Vander Tuig is left in the game, especially considering UCLA would, hypothetically, have to win three straight games after tonight in order to win the region.
After four innings, it’s ALL Cal Poly, 4-0.
The Bruins have simply been befuddled by Imhof all night. He has sat down 15 of the 16 batters who have come to the plate.
UCLA’s Vander Tuig gets his first 1-2-3 inning to send us to the sixth with Cal Poly up 4-0.
Imhof just allowed the first Bruins hit on a double down the left field line, which has brought the UCLA crowd to life. Following another single and a hit batsman, the bases are juiced with nobody out. The Bruins push across a run on a sacrifice fly, as Kramer drove a 3-2 pitch to left field.
After another single for the Bruins, Lee elects to pull Imhof and put in Reed Reilly, the Mustangs traditional closing man. Bold move.
Reilly comes in right away and throws four pitches for the K. Nick Torres lost a pop up in the sky. It would have been the final out of the inning, but now its a tie ballgame. Torres catches a pop fly to right field to end the inning, he just wishes he could have found the last one. Nonetheless, it’s a whole new game with 3 and a half innings to go.
This game has a whole new flavor since Torres’ miscue in right. The UCLA fans are piping up and the players appear to have a bit more spring in their step. The Cal Poly batters are now struggling against Vander Tuig who they were torching over the first four innings.
Jordan Ellis fouled off four 3-2 pitches before bolting a single to right. Mundell at the plate to try and extend the inning.
Reilly allows a single followed by a bunt that moved the runner to second. After a walk and a bunt for a hit, UCLA has the bases loaded with one out. Biggest moment of the night so far with Kramer at the plate. Reilly comes up with another key K, but he still has one more out to get. An infield single from Filia plates the go ahead run and UCLA leads 5-4. Reilly walks in another run and its 6-4 Bruins.
This game has quite literally turned on a dime. That turn being Torres’ panicked backtrack to the wall in right field in the sixth inning as he searched for a ball that would never land in his glove. Instead it resulted in three runs for UCLA and the Bruins bats have been hot ever since. Reilly was able to get out of the inning with no further damage, but Cal Poly now has a hill to climb against a potent bullpen.
Nick Torres will lead off the seventh inning for Cal Poly with a chance to redeem himself. But he grounds out. Allen and Armendariz follow with strikeouts and the Bruins will come back to the plate.
Not a huge surprise, but Larry Lee has elected to continue going with Reed Reilly on the mound. He’s obviously trying to win this game, but do it responsibly because there is a chance the Mustangs will have to play three more games over the next two days. And after one out, Lee pulls Reilly in favor of Taylor Chris, who gets two outs.
The Mustangs go down meekly in the eighth inning. They’ll have the top of the order at the plate in the bottom of the ninth.
Chase Johnson is out to pitch the ninth inning again for the Mustangs. Lee hasn’t shown much faith in Johnson this year, but this is a key situation with Cal Poly needing to keep the lead as small as possible. He did the job.
Mustangs go down without a peep in the ninth. They’ll have to face San Diego at 2 p.m. tomorrow, the winner of that game will face UCLA tomorrow night.
FINAL: UCLA 6 CAL POLY 4