Cal Poly Softball only picked up one win in the three game series against UC Santa Barbara at Bob Janssen Field from May 11-12.
The Mustangs (11-40, 5-16 Big West) finished in seventh place in the Big West Conference while the Gauchos (10-42, 4-17) finished in last place.
The Mustangs opened the first game of the doubleheader with a close 6-5 loss to the Gauchos on Friday, May 11.
Cal Poly took a 1-0 lead after the first inning thanks to a solo home run by freshman left fielder Lily Amos.
After both teams recorded only one hit in the second inning, the Mustangs extended their lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Junior first baseman Hailey Martin hit a two-RBI down the left field line to score senior third baseman Noa Yakir and sophomore second baseman Sarah Wulff.
After only allowing two hits in the first four innings, junior starting pitcher Steffi Best and the Mustangs gave up three runs to the Gauchos in the fourth inning. The Gauchos got their first run when left fielder Sammy Fabian hit an RBI single to score right fielder Rayna Cohen. Successive Mustang errors in the next two at-bats then allowed the Gauchos to score twice to tie the game at 3-3.
The Gauchos scored the go-ahead and game-winning runs in the seventh inning as a third Mustang error helped load the bases for the Gauchos. With two outs, first baseman Devan Sperry hit a three-RBI double to for a 6-3 lead.
The Mustangs, however, fought back in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lily Amos doubled to center field to score Wulff. With two outs, senior catcher Makenna Young singled to center field to score freshman pinch runner Krystyna Allman. However, the Gauchos secured the 6-5 win as senior right fielder Crimson Kaiser lined out.
The Mustangs recorded three errors, which proved to be detrimental as UC Santa Barbara scored five unearned runs.
The Mustangs tied the series up at 1-1 after a 5-3 win in the second game of the doubleheader.
“I think after losing game one, our hopes were high and we really wanted to win the second game and come back,” Yakir said. “It almost made us more hungry to come back in the second game and get the win.”
Similar to the first game, the Mustangs were the first to score. Sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos hit a single and freshman shortstop Maddie Amos scored from third on a fielding error by the Gauchos. In the following at-bat, Wulff hit an RBI single up the middle to score Ramos. Wulff also matched a career-high three hits.
“[Wulff] is probably the hardest worker on the team,” Young said. “So she definitely deserves all the positives things happening to her right now.”
However, the Gauchos answered right back in the third inning with two runs of their own. The Gauchos recorded their first run of the game when Ally Nodohara hit an RBI single to score Kayla Krantz. In the following at-bat, Teah Thies hit an RBI groundout.
The Mustangs reclaimed their lead in the bottom half of the third inning. Young’s RBI-double to scored Lily Amos. Then, Maddie Amos hit an RBI-single to score Young from second base to make the lead 4-2.
From the fourth inning to the sixth inning, sophomore starting pitcher Dakota Casper allowed zero hits.
“[Casper] hit her spots pretty much every pitch and she went after every batter,” Young said.
Cal Poly secured one more run in the fifth inning thanks to Kaiser’s RBI-double scoring Young.
The 5-2 lead proved to be enough to outlast the Gauchos, who only scored one more run in the final inning. After an RBI-single by the Gauchos’ Kayla Krantz, Allman came in to pitch for Casper. Allman got the final two outs on a double play to secure the 5-3 victory.
The Mustangs only had one error in the second game.
“We had one error, but it did not hurt us as much as the three in the first game,” Yakir said.
Cal Poly’s season ended in a 9-1 defeat to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, May 11. The Gauchos were granted the victory in the fifth inning due to NCAA Softball’s 8-run rule. With the defeat, the Mustangs finished seventh in the Big West Conference.
“We didn’t play well,” associate head coach Gina Vecchione said. “I love how we competed in the last inning, but we needed to come out more than that.”
UC Santa Barbara opened the scoring with three hits in the top of the first inning. After the Gauchos registered two singles, first-baseman Devan Sperry doubled down the right field line for a 2-0 lead.
Lily Amos singled up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the same inning. However, she was left on base as the Gauchos retired the final batter. The Mustangs registered just two more hits in the remainder of the game.
The Gauchos stayed consistent and tripled their lead in the second inning with five hits for four runs. UC Santa Barbara’s left fielder Sammy Fabian and Sperry each contributed a 2 RBI hit in the frame before the Mustangs notched the final out with two runners left on base.
UC Santa Barbara completed their win with a dominant fifth inning in which the Gauchos totaled five hits for three runs.
With a 9-0 deficit heading into the bottom of the inning, the Mustangs needed to score at least two runs for the game to continue. Ramos kept the Mustangs’ hopes alive with a single down the left field line before Yakir followed up with another single two batters later.
Yakir’s single allowed Wulff to cross home plate on a Gaucho throwing error for the Mustang’s lone run of the game. Yakir was left on base as Lily Amos grounded out to conclude to match at 9-1.
“This is the closest team that I’ve ever played with,” Yakir said. “Even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, we were all really close and I’m never going to forget them.”
Saturday marked Yakir and four other seniors’ last match as Mustangs.