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Brooks Lee named Big West Player of the Week again

Brooks Lee named Big West Player of the Week again

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Brooks Lee.jpg

Cal Poly infielder Brooks Lee takes a swing during a 2020 game against Baylor.

For the second straight week, Cal Poly's freshman shortstop Brooks Lee is the Big West Conference Player of the Week.

One week after going 7-for-12 in the Mustangs' series sweep against Utah Valley, Lee was 7-for-14 with five extra-base hits as Cal Poly won two of three games versus No. 6 UCLA.

Lee scored five runs and knocked in seven for the Mustangs, compiling a 1.071 slugging percentage with three doubles, one triple and a home run.

His two-run home run in the first inning Sunday erased an early 2-0 UCLA lead and Cal Poly went on to post an 8-5 victory to clinch the series.

In Saturday's game, Lee belted three doubles to tie a school Division I record held by 14 others.

The 2019 San Luis Obispo High School graduate currently is hitting .440 and leads the Mustangs with six doubles, four home runs and 18 RBIs in 13 games. 

Named Big West pitcher of the week was UC San Diego senior Cameron Leonard as he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings for his first Division I win, a 3-1 decision against Santa Clara on Friday. Leonard struck out six and no walks and just two hits allowed.

Lee and Cole Cabrera belted two-run home runs and Myles Emmerson also knocked in two runs as Cal Poly clinched its non-conference series against UCLA with the victory Sunday.

Trailing by four runs in the top of the ninth, the Bruins loaded the bases with nobody out. Bryan Woo was summoned from the bullpen and secured a groundout to first base, a strikeout and a game-ending grounder to shortstop for his first save.

In beating a top-10 team in a series at home for the first time since taking two of three versus No. 8 Cal State Fullerton in 2017, Cal Poly improved to 8-5 for the season, winning for the seventh time in its last nine games after a 1-3 start. UCLA fell to 10-5. 

"We played extremely well in a lof of different facets this weekend against a very talented UCLA team," said 19th-year Mustang head coach Larry Lee, Brooks Lee's father. "We just battled each and every inning throughout the weekend."

After UCLA scored twice in the top of the first on an RBI single by J.T. Schwartz and a run-scoring double by Michael Curialle, Cal Poly countered with a two-run blast by Lee to right-center field, his team-leading fourth home run of the year.

Cabrera snapped the tie with a two-run home run, his second of the season, about six feet inside the left field foul pole and the Mustangs added two more in the fifth for a 6-2 lead on an RBI single by Matt Lopez and Taison Corio's sacrifice fly to center field. 

Both teams scored a run in the sixth, Cal Poly taking a 7-3 lead on Emmerson's sacrifice fly to center field.

Each team also tallied a run in the eighth, Emmerson tripling off the left field wall for an 8-4 Mustang lead. 

UCLA brought the potential game-tying run to the plate three times in the ninth, loading the bases on two walks and a double by Kevin Kendall, but could only bring one of the runners home in the groundout by Schwartz.

"We played in three hard-fought and close games," said Larry Lee. "That's going to make us better heading into conference play."

Cabrera, who was the only starter on either side without a hit in UCLA's 13-12 win Saturday, went 3-for-5 Sunday with two RBIs. Lee and Lopez each added two hits.

UCLA outhit Cal Poly 11-9, Schwartz, Curialle, Emmanuel Dean and Matt McLain each collecting two hits. Schwartz drove in two runs for the Bruins.

Junior lefty Andrew Alvarez (3-0) earned the victory after six innings of work on the mound, allowing three runs and seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

The loss went to UCLA starter Nick Nastrini (2-1) as the Mustangs scored six runs on five hits, taking advantage of five walks as well, during his four-plus innings on the mound.

Cal Poly hit .311 in the series. Lopez went 6-for-13, Cabrera 5-for-13 and Emmerson 4-for-12 with four RBIs.

"We had some great performances out of our bullpen, defense was just OK and I thought our offense created a lot of stress," said Larry Lee. "We had a plan and an approach with each and every pitcher."

The Mustangs, who hit just .231 a year ago, are hitting .300 as a team through 13 games this spring.

Last time Cal Poly won a series against UCLA was in 2014 at Jackie Robinson Stadium as the Mustangs took two of three games. 

Cal Poly opens Big West Conference play this weekend at CSUN. The Matadors did not play any non-conference games over the first four weeks of the season. Game times are 1 p.m. Saturday, a noon doubleheader Sunday and a 2 p.m. finale Monday.

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