Chelsea Green was overwhelmed with emotion Sunday when she took right field for the last time at Bob Janssen Field.
The Cal Poly senior cleanup hitter is the highest active player on the Mustangs’ all-time list of hits’ leaders. She was 1-for-3 Sunday in Cal Poly’s 4-2 Big West Conference loss to Cal State Fullerton.
“I was excited and sad at the same time,” said Green, whose 177 career hits rank fifth in school history. “I was overwhelmed that it was my last game here after four years.”
Green has played in all 208 of Cal Poly’s games during her four-year career.
“(Green) will definitely be remembered,” Cal Poly coach Jenny Condon said. “Her love for the game has been instilled in the underclassmen.”
Green singled up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the third inning of a game in which the Mustangs squandered a 2-0 lead by committing three errors.
Cal Poly (25-22, 9-6) committed just 14 errors from March 5 to April 29, a stretch in which it won 19 of 24 games.
“They had a lot to do with (the loss),” Condon said of the errors. “If you don’t have good defense, it’s going to be tough to win games. They were surprising mistakes but sometimes that happens when the game gets tight.”
Despite losing its first series since dropping two-of-three games April 8 to 9 at Long Beach State, Cal Poly is likely to reach the postseason if it wins its final series at Pacific on Friday and Saturday, according to Green and Condon.
Entering the weekend, Cal Poly was ranked 67th in the WarrenNolan.com Ratings Percentage Index, which simulates the NCAA’s secret formula determining which teams are bound for the May 18 to 28 NCAA Tournament.
The Mustangs were 36-15 last year but left out of the tournament because their schedule featured just eight games against top-50 teams. They have played 14 games against top-50 teams this season.
“Playing tons of ranked teams this year has really helped our chances of getting a bid,” Green said. “We’ve proven ourselves already by challenging every team. We can hang with anybody.”
The Mustangs have lost 13 games this season by two or fewer runs.
Two of those losses came against the first-place Titans (33-22, 11-4), who lost 3-1 before winning 2-1 Saturday.
Cal State Fullerton coach Michelle Gromacki said her team, Long Beach State, and Cal Poly should represent the Big West in the postseason.
“We’re hoping for three,” she said. “That’s why next weekend is huge. I think it would be a big deal if we get three teams in.”
Cal Poly designated player Sarah Iwata was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in the first inning. Katie Gollhardt’s fifth-inning RBI triple to right field gave the Titans a 3-2 lead.
Cal Poly sophomore starter Robyn Kontra (14-10) gave up two earned runs and five hits in 6.1 innings. She walked two and struck out two.
Green, whom Condon credited along with senior utility player Teresa Miller for guiding eight freshmen this season, said she has most appreciated the Mustangs’ facilities.
“I love playing out here when it’s sunny and you can see Bishops (Peak) and our field is amazing,” Green said.