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The Cal Poly softball team was handed two losses on Friday against an aggressive UC Riverside squad, falling 6-2 in the first game and 8-1 in the second. Cal Poly has now lost nine games in a row.
In game one, the Mustangs outhit the Highlanders 6-5, but UC Riverside would have a four-run fifth inning rally to take a commanding lead that it would not relinquish.
Just an inning before, Cal Poly briefly held the lead after senior outfielder Emily Ceccacci’s second career home run. The senior would finish with five hits between both games in Friday’s doubleheader.
Heading into the last conference game of her career, Ceccacci is second in total hits for her team with 48.
The Highlanders would score the sixth and final run in the following inning on a home run by freshman Chelsea Holley, her second of the day.
UC Riverside’s junior pitcher Chelsea Ponce would earn her 28th and 29th victories on the season as well, further cementing her spot as this season’s most dominant pitcher in the Big West Conference. Ponce leads the Big West in both ERA (1.37) and total wins.
Cal Poly’s sophomore pitcher Sierra Hyland would pick up the loss for her team in game one, allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits.
Hyland’s overall record (17-21) does not indicate the level she has performed this season. Hyland leads the conference with 231 strikeouts — 50 ahead of the runner-up.
While game one fell out of reach for the Mustangs in later innings, game two was undoubtedly a blowout. The Highlanders scored seven of their eight runs in the first three innings of the game, blowing the game open early.
Ponce was dominant yet again and Cal Poly wouldn’t score after tallying its only run in the second inning.
The Mustangs will play their final game of the season on Saturday at Riverside for the finale of the three-game series. First pitch is at noon.