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Cal Poly quarterback Jalen Hamler, seen during fall camp, will lead the Mustangs into the 2021 spring season in Saturday's opener against Southern Utah. Kickoff is set for 12:05 p.m.

Finally, the Beau Baldwin era has arrived.

Cal Poly will play its first game with Baldwin at the helm of the football program Saturday when the Mustangs host Southern Utah. 

Baldwin was hired at Cal Poly in December of 2019, some 15 months ago. The coronavirus pandemic followed not long after, forcing the first game for Baldwin to be pushed back six months. Kickoff Saturday at Spanos Stadium is set for 12:05 p.m.

Southern Utah has already played twice this season and is 0-2. Big Sky Conference teams are all scheduled to play six games this spring.

Saturday's contest will be broadcast live locally on KSBY-TV’s CW 5. The game also will be broadcast on ESPN Radio (1280 AM and 101.7 FM) 

Baldwin was named Cal Poly’s 17th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2019.

Since then, the Mustangs' 2020 spring camp was canceled due to the pandemic. Still anticipating a normal fall schedule of 11 games, Cal Poly's summer period was limited to 11 days in July. The four-week fall camp, scheduled for late October and much of November, was cut short to just five days by the pandemic.

Even the three-week preseason camp which started in late January faced delays, forcing Cal Poly to postpone its first two Big Sky games. Nevertheless, the modified 2020-21 spring season is at hand, the two games have been rescheduled and the Mustangs are eager to face their first opponent since November 2019.

Southern Utah has already played two contests, dropping both. Coach Demario Warren’s Thunderbirds fell 34-33 at Northern Arizona on Feb. 27 on a two-yard pass play with no time remaining on the clock, then dropped a 26-24 home decision to Idaho State on a 30-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.

In those two contests, Dayne Christiansen rushed for 124 yards and one touchdown while Justin Miller completed 70 percent of his passes — 50 of 71 — for 520 yards and seven scores. Miller’s top target was Landen Measom with 14 catches for 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

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Cal Poly fans are anticipating major changes, particularly on offense, with Baldwin at the helm. The triple option is gone and the new offensive package likely will result in three or four wide receivers on most plays with one running back instead of two slotbacks, a fullback and a pair of receivers in the formation.

Baldwin guided Eastern Washington for nine seasons, compiling an 85-32 overall mark with five Big Sky titles and six NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berths, including the 2010 national championship. In the last three years before he became Cal Poly’s head coach, Baldwin was offensive coordinator at Cal, leading the Bears to a pair of bowl games.

Girls tennis

San Luis Obispo 5, St. Joseph 1

Michahjuliana Lundberg gave the Knights their only point in their Mountain League loss to the Tigers. Lundberg won 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles.

The match was a makeup of an earlier rainout. The teams made it through singles play in this one, but doubles matches were rained out. The Tigers had clinched the win by then.

Cross Country

Bulldogs run at COS

VISALIA — The Hancock College women's cross country program opened its abbreviated season at the College of the Sequoias Cross Country Invite on Friday afternoon.

Sierra Skinner, an Orcutt Academy grad, led a trio of Bulldogs competing in the event after earning a sixth-place finish with a final time of 24:11. Yasmin Mendez finished in seventh place after clocking a time of 25:36, followed by Kiara Ramirez who rounded out the list of AHC runners with an eighth-place finish and a final time of 27:39. Cuesta's Julia Voss was the individual winner of the event with a time of 20:16.

Information from Cal Poly's and Hancock College's athletics communications departments was used in this report.

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