SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Junior right-handers Taylor Dollard and Dylan Villalobos combined on a two-hit shutout as Cal Poly defeated UConn 5-0 in a 2020 baseball season opener Friday afternoon in the MLB4 Tournament at Talking Stick at Salt River Fields.
Dollard (1-0) tossed a career-high seven innings, allowing two singles and two walks with a career-high 10 strikeouts for the win. Villalobos retired all six batters he faced for a save.
Third baseman Nick Marinconz collected his first two hits as a Mustang and right fielder Kyle Ashworth added two RBIs in his first Cal Poly game as the Mustangs won their season opener for the seventh time in the last nine years.
In the first meeting ever in baseball between the two schools, Cal Poly scored two unearned runs in the third inning, another unearned run in the eighth and tallied two more runs in the ninth for the win.
Dollard, who pitched six innings in relief a year ago at UC Santa Barbara and doubled his career strikeout high – he had five against CSUN in 2019 – retired 10 UConn batters in a row early in the game as well as the final seven batters he faced in the game.
Dollard threw 90 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Cal Poly has announced a $1 million gift from Bill Hoffman for the final phase of a four-year project to upgrade Baggett Stadium. The gift jump-starts a group of improvements at Baggett Stadium, including an improved entrance to Baggett Stadium and Bob Janssen Field, a new ticket booth, renovations to the baseball press box, chair back seating, batters eye and other cosmetic enhancements.
Villalobos struck out two and his other four outs all were fly balls to the outfield.
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UConn committed two of its three errors along with a mental mistake, allowing Cal Poly to score twice in the third inning.
Marinconz and Cole Cabrera both reached on errors. Ashworth’s potential inning-ending double play grounder resulted in a force play at second base, but on the relay throw, UConn first baseman Reggie Crawford’s foot was not on the bag when he caught an accurate throw, allowing Marinconz to score and prolonging the rally. After a walk, Tate Samuelson singled to score Ashworth.
Samuelson drew a walk leading off the eighth inning and when Blake Wagenseller’s infield single resulted in a collision between the UConn middle infielders, Samuelson scored.
Cal Poly parlayed three singles and a groundout into two insurance runs in the ninth, Ashworth and Bradlee Beesley collecting the RBIs.
Both Cabrera and Marinconz led Cal Poly’s seven-hit offensive attack with a single and double.
UConn’s two singles were by Kyler Fedko in the first inning and Ben Maycock in the fifth.
Right-hander Joe Simeone (0-1) suffered the loss. The two runs he gave up over four-plus innings were unearned and he struck out six while walking two and giving up three hits.
Catcher Myles Emmerson picked off a UConn runner in the fifth inning to thwart a Husky rally and Ashworth made a pair of running catches in right field. Shortstop Connor Gurnik snared a line drive to his right in the seventh inning.
Cal Poly will play Michigan, last year’s national runner-up, on Saturday at 12 noon PST. The Mustangs are 2-0 versus the Wolverines with an 8-1 win two years ago in the Tony Gwynn Classic and a 5-1 triumph in 2016 inside Baggett Stadium.
- This report was contributed by Eric Burdick, Cal Poly Associate Athletic Director for Communications