Apr 18, 2013 9:46 PM by Andrew Masuda

16th ranked Mustangs ready for first place showdown with #4 Cal State Fullerton

The Cal Poly baseball team is set to open the biggest series of the season so far. The 16th ranked Mustangs open a Big West series against 4th ranked and conference leading Cal State Fullerton on Friday night.

"You look at the schedule before you start the season and you look for these types of games and you get excited about them because you know that having the crowd on our side is going to be a big advantage for us. This is a good opportunity to gain some ground on them," said senior second baseman Denver Chavez. The Santa Barbara native leads the Big West with a .403 batting average, 33 runs scored, 56 hits and 11 doubles. He ranks second in the conference with a .468 on-base percentage and is third with 11 stolen bases.

The Mustangs are 25-9 overall and beating Santa Clara on Tuesday 7-2 in a non-conference game. Cal Poly is 6-3 in Big West action and two games behind the Titans.

"This is a huge series for us. Playing Fullerton is always fun for all the guys. We're playing a top 5 team in the country, it'll be great," said Cal Poly closer Reed Reilly, who has 9 saves and a 1.83 ERA this season.

The defending Big West champion Titans are 8-1 in conference with their lone loss coming last week 2-0 to UCSB. Fullerton is 32-5 overall and hitting .288 as a team with 22 home runs. The team's pitching staff has a 2.51 ERA. The Titans have won 20 of their last 22 games and are 16-1 on the road.

"If we do well against them it will show the other teams in the country that we're capable of standing out and being one of the top five teams," said freshman shortstop Peter Van Gansen, who's hitting .300.

Senior ace Joey Wagman starts on the mound for Cal Poly Friday. He is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA. First pitch at Baggett Stadium is at 6 pm Friday and Saturday. Sunday's series finale is at 1 pm.

Sophomore left Matt Imhof, who is 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA, starts game two for the Mustangs.

Last year, Cal Poly lost 2 of 3 at Fullerton. The Mustangs won 2 of their 3 games against the Titans at Cal Poly in 2011.



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