Cal Poly Pomona coach Mike Ashman was looking for a way to strengthen both his starting rotation and his bullpen. He found it.
Freshman right-hander Casey McCarthy looked impressive in his starting debut, leading the Broncos to an 11-1 CCAA win over visiting Cal State San Bernardino on Friday at Scolinos Field.
It was the first start after 10 relief appearances for McCarthy (2-0), who survived a shaky first inning and allowed just one run and three hits in six innings.
“We have a couple of older guys I thought were better suited for the bullpen,” Ashman said, “and we had a couple of younger pitchers we wanted to start getting more innings. It all worked out, at least today.”
The Coyotes scored their only run in the first inning as Kyle Davis led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Jesus Beltran, but an unconventional double play helped McCarthy out of trouble.
Cal Poly turned four ground-ball double plays, two of those behind their starter. The first of those came in the second after the Coyotes loaded the bases with one out.
“He (McCarthy) was about one hitter away from coming out,” Ashman said. “He really settled down and did a great job after that.”
The Broncos then took control of the game with a seven-run third inning, all of those off Coyotes starter Bryan Hart (2-2). The inning featured a two-run double by Joe Villa and run-scoring singles by Jeff Ringholm and Richard McDowell.
Cal Poly Pomona was also aided by two wild pitches, a passed ball, a hit batter and an errant pick-off throw. The Coyotes were never in striking distance again.
“It wasn’t so much a bad game as much as a bad inning,” Cal State coach Don Parnell said. “That pretty much changed everything because now you have to play for the big inning, you’re going with different pitchers.”
Cal Poly racked up 13 hits, with Ringholm, the team’s leading hitter, collecting three of them and scoring three runs. McDowell also had three hits.
Davis had two hits for the Coyotes, who won the series opener on Thursday, 6-5.
The game was crucial for both teams as they jockey for position to try and earn a berth in the four-team CCAA tournament with a month to go in the regular season.
The Coyotes (17-15, 12-9) started the day tied for fourth with Cal State Los Angeles, and the Broncos (17-15, 10-12) were eighth but still in striking distance.
“It’s a pretty tight race,” Parnell said. “No one is significantly better than anyone else.”
“It’s going to be all about who gets hot at the right time,” Ashman said. “There are a handful of teams that have a shot.”
The teams will play a doubleheader at noon today at Arrowhead Credit Union Park.