SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Drew Thorpe regained the national lead in strikeouts with a dozen, Brooks Lee belted his 13th home run of the season to go along with a pair of doubles and Matt Lopez knocked in three runs as Cal Poly blanked UC Davis 11-0 in a Big West Conference baseball game Friday night inside Baggett Stadium.
Thorpe, who now has 139 strikeouts this season, one shy of Cal Poly’s all-time record for strikeouts in a season (Erik Bratlien struck out 140 in 1988), is three ahead of both Parker Messick of Florida State and Shemar Page of Grambling, each likely with one more start in the regular season.
Lee moved into a tie for ninth place with Mitch Haniger (2012) and Jimmy Van Ostrand (2006) in Cal Poly’s record book for home runs in a single season, leading off the fourth inning with a solo blast to right field, and his two doubles lifted his season total to 24, three short of the record 27 two-baggers he collected in 2021. Lee has 50 RBIs for the season.
Lopez capped a four-run first-inning rally with a two-run double down the left-field line and added an RBI single to left-center field in the seventh for his ninth multiple-hit game of the season.
With the win, Cal Poly extended its winning streak to nine games, improved to 33-20 for the season and remained four games behind first-place UC Santa Barbara in the Big West standings at 18-7 with five games remaining for each team. The Gauchos (22-3) scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat UC Riverside 9-8 Friday.
UC Davis fell to 6-30 overall and 5-20 in the Big West.
Thorpe (9-1) reached double figures in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and 12th of his Mustang career, striking out the side once. UC Davis had two runners on base in the first, fourth and sixth innings, but Thorpe was able to extinguish each rally en route to his 13th consecutive quality start.
Thorpe walked three and scattered four hits over six innings, throwing 110 pitches. Zach Button, Derek True and Noah Larkin each pitched one scoreless frame in relief.
The loss was charged to UC Davis starter Nathan Peng (0-4) as he allowed all four runs in the first inning. Nate Freeman pitched the rest of the way for the Aggies.
Joe Yorke extended his hitting streak to 19 games with an RBI single in the second inning and added another run-scoring single in the eighth.
Yorke, the reigning Big West field player of the week, is 26-for-46 (.565) in his last 10 games with six doubles, a home run and 16 RBIs. During his current 19-game hitting streak, the Mustang first baseman is 42-for-87 (.483) with seven doubles, two home runs and 22 RBIs, lifting his average for the season 99 points from .252 to .351.
The run by Yorke includes a pair of five-hit games (May 6 versus CSU Bakersfield and May 10 against Pepperdine), the first to do it twice in the Mustangs’ 28-year Division I history, and a four-hit game Tuesday in the rematch at Pepperdine.
Lee sparked Cal Poly’s 15-hit offensive attack with three hits while Yorke, Lopez and Nick Marinconz each added two hits. Marinconz has elevated his batting average 58 points to .325 over his last 37 games, going 46-for-139 (.331) with 13 multiple-hit contests, while Lopez has gone 12-for-33 (.364) over his last 10 games, lifting his average 30 points to .283.
Tate Samuelson, a fifth-year Super Senior who has already broken school records for most games played (226) and at-bats (878) in a career, contributed a pinch-hit leadoff single int he eighth inning and is No. 3 in hits (241) and RBIs (154) and fifth in hit by pitches (29). Hitting .253 this year, Samuelson is one home run and two walks shy of the top 10 and six RBIs short of the school record (Steve Wood with 160).
J.D. Mico, James Williams III and Nick Leehey all had two of UC Davis’ eight hits.
Cal Poly is 4-0 in shutouts this season and is 22-0 in games in which it outhits the opposition.
Second game of the series will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. with Cal Poly junior southpaw Travis Weston (5-3, 4.50 ERA) to face UC Davis junior right-hander Nolan Meredith (0-3, 6.53 ERA).
Sunday’s series finale also starts at 1 o’clock, with the Mustangs’ Senior Day ceremony to begin at 12:25 p.m.