Cal Poly (1-3 overall, 0-0 Big West), which opened its 2021 baseball season with a 4-0 shutout before losing the four-game series to Nevada at home, plays its only non-conference road series this weekend by visiting the USC Trojans (2-1, 0—0 Pac-12) inside Dedeaux Field (cap.: 2,500).
Coach Larry Lee’s Mustangs and the Trojans of second-year head coach Jason Gill, a former player under Lee while both were at Cuesta College, clash Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 2 o’clock and Sunday at 1 p.m.
The first and third games of the series will be broadcast on ESPN Radio (1280 AM and 101.7 FM) with Jay Holloway providing the play-by-play. The middle game of the series will be available via audio stream. Links for live stats and audio and video streams are available on the baseball schedule page at www.GoPoly.com.
Coming off a 10-5 performance in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign, USC returned 28 of 31 letter winners, including eight position starters and nine pitchers. Top returnees are utility player Jamal O’Guinn (.378 in 2020), catcher/first baseman Clay Owens (.346, 17 RBIs) and infielder Ben Ramirez (.310, 13 RBIs). The pitching staff is led by Isaac Esqueda (0-1, 1.20 ERA in 2020), Alex Cornwell (2-1, 3.66 ERA) and Brian Gursky (1-1, 0.00 ERA), all southpaws. Esqueda, Cornwell and righty Chandler Champlain (0-0, 1.23 ERA) will start the three games against Cal Poly.
Coached by Gill (second season, 12-6, Cal State Fullerton ‘96), USC won two of three games against Loyola Marymount last weekend. The Trojans won 3-2 on Friday and 5-0 on Saturday, both at home, and fell 9-8 on the Lions’ home turf Sunday.
Esqueda started the opener and allowed two runs and six hits over five innings in the no-decision. Trailing 2-0, USC scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings for the win. A bases-loaded walk was the decider. Champlain and Gursky combined on a six-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in Saturday’s shutout while seven Trojan pitchers combined to give up 20 hits in the series finale. USC committed five errors in the last game, leading to four unearned runs for the Lions.
Cal Poly followed its season-opening 4-0 shutout against Nevada with 2-1, 11-8 (10 innings) and 12-6 setbacks. Drew Thorpe and Dylan Villalobos combined on a two-hitter in the opener, but the Mustangs stranded 38 runners on the base paths in the remaining three games of the series. Junior third baseman Tate Samuelson and senior catcher Myles Emmerson led the way at the plate for Cal Poly, Samuelson going 7-for-16 (,438) with a double, triple and four RBIs and Emmerson going 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles and three runs scored.
Sixth-Ranked Mustangs Begin 2021 Beach Volleyball Season Saturday
Three hundred and fifty-seven days. That’s how long it will have been since the Cal Poly beach volleyball program played a match when it opens its season this Saturday.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 6 in the AVCA Preseason Top 20 Poll and No. by collegebeachvb.com, will begin their 2021 campaign by heading to Tallahassee, Fla. this weekend for four matches, two of which will be against fellow Top 20 programs.
Cal Poly will start the season against the University of Tampa on Saturday at 6:45 a.m. PT. That will be followed by a matchup against No. 18 Georgia State at 10:15 a.m. PT and Southern Mississippi at 1:45 p.m. PT. They will then wrap up the weekend by facing host school No. 3 Florida State on Sunday at 6:45 a.m. PT.
The Mustangs have never beat Florida State, losing to the Seminoles last season and in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.