Cal Poly Softball extended their losing streak to seven games after competing in the Stanford Nike Invitational on March 1-3. The Mustangs (3-14) failed to register a win in the three-day, four-game tournament. Stanford (16-2) took control of the invitational with five straight wins and zero losses.
The Mustangs fell to North Dakota State 8-0 in the opening match of the invitational after producing only three hits through 23 at-bats. Cal Poly not only failed to advance a runner past first base but also left five runners on base through the game’s seven innings.
North Dakota State gained the advantage early in the first inning, scoring off an error by freshman shortstop Maddie Amos. The Bisons added another two runs in the third inning after North Dakota State catcher Maddie Hansen blasted a home-run into left field to bring home second baseman Zoe Stavrou.
North Dakota State’s control of the game stayed consistent as the Bisons doubled their score in the next inning. A double by Vanessa Anderson set up Montana DeCamp’s RBI single to left field before Stavrou’s ground out drove home the final two runners for a 6-0 lead. Single runs in the fifth and seventh innings concluded the game at the 8-0.
Despite junior right-hander Steffi Best (1-8) producing a career-high performance of five strike-outs, North Dakota State pitcher KK Leddy (6-4) was ultimately awarded the win after striking out six batters and allowing just three hits.
In Friday’s second match-up against Northwestern, Cal Poly’s luck was no different. Despite gaining an early lead, the Mustangs gave up five-runs in the sixth inning for a 6-2 defeat.
Cal Poly put themselves on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when senior outfielder Sydney James doubled to right center field for two RBI. The next inning, Northwestern’s Maeve Nelson responded by cutting the Wildcat’s deficit in half with a home-run into left field.
However, the sixth inning was the game changer as Northwestern racked up a five-run hitting spree. Nikki Cuchran, Kenna Wilkey and Rachel Lewis all produced an RBI as a result of three hits and strategic base running. The runs were also backed by Danielle William’s two RBI double to right center field as the match concluded with a score of 6-2.
James and senior third baseman Noa Yakir both led the Mustang’s with two hits each against the Wildcats. Best (1-9) was credited with the loss after allowing four runs and one hit. Northwestern’s Kenna Wilkey (3-1), who produced six strikeouts, was awarded the win.
The Mustangs’ attempt at a late-game comeback fell short with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of University of Montana Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs’ scheduled morning rematch against Northwestern was canceled due to rain.
Montana’s first two runs came in the bottom of the second inning off two hits and an error. Maddy Stensby singled up the middle of the field before Brooklyn Weisgram reached first on an error by Best. Katie Pippel then doubled to right center field to drive the two players home for a 2-0 lead.
Montana’s attack returned in the fourth inning with another two runs, this time off three hits. Stensby was the first to cross home-plate on an error by Mustang sophomore Sarah Wulff. McKenna Tjaden followed up with a single to drive home Weisgram, extending the score to 4-0.
The Mustangs prompted a comeback in the sixth inning with four hits, but it was too little too late. Yakir’s single landed the senior on first-base before moving to second on a groundout by sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos. Senior catcher Makenna Young singled up the middle to drive Yakir home for Cal Poly’s first run of the game. Three batters later, freshman catcher Lily Amos converted the last RBI with a single to right field, ending the game at 6-2.
Mustang freshman pitcher Krystyna Allman (1-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up four runs on six hits. Colleen Driscoll (3-3) was awarded the win for allowing only two runs through five innings.
Cal Poly concluded the weekend with a 13-5 defeat to tournament hosts Stanford University. The Mustangs’ ten hits were the most they had produced against any opponent in the tournament, but their performance still did not mount the Cardinal’s 17 hit game. Stanford’s win against Cal Poly sealed not only their tenth win in a row, but also their undefeated status in the Stanford Nike Invitational.
Stanford players Emily Klingaman and Whitney Burks each registered a double in the first inning to grant the Cardinal an early 2-0 lead. Cal Poly senior right fielder Crimson Kaiser responded in the second inning with her first solo home-run of 2019. However, in the same inning, Stanford’s Kristina Inouye broke the game wide-open with a grand slam into left field.
Young and Amos each totaled an RBI in the third inning to bring the score to 6-3, but the Cardinals yet again responded with a four-run rally. The Mustangs cut their deficit in half for the last time in the fifth inning. Kaiser drove home Young with an RBI double, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly by Amos for the Mustangs’ final score of the day. The Cardinals added three runs in the final two innings before the game concluded at 13-5.
Kaiser led the Mustangs with two RBIs followed by Amos, Young and Amos, who each totaled one. Allman (1-4) was credited with the loss for allowing six runs on seven hits. Stanford’s Kiana Pancino (5-0) was awarded the win after allowing zero hits through two innings.
Cal Poly will return to Bob Janssen Field to host the ShareSLO Mustang Classic on March 8-10. The Mustangs’ tournament play begins with Iowa State on Friday, March 8 at 12:30 p.m.