Cal Poly Softball (16-23, 11-7 Big West) is making notable strides as they continue conference play, capturing new milestones left and right. From securing their fourth-straight conference series win to rising into fourth place in the Big West rankings, the team has honed in and risen to the occasion in the journey towards a conference championship.
The team took a little bit longer to come into their own and make their way to success in 2022, considering they started the season with an 0-13 record.
In mid-February, the SDSU Season Kick-off and SVC Classic I tournaments brought the Mustangs early hardships. Cal Poly began the season with an 0-10 record, with seven of those games lost by only a single run.
“Losing all of our games in our first two tournaments really put a chip on the team’s shoulders,” senior left-hander Krystna Allman said. “During that rough season, everybody really had to learn how to push and fight to win games.”
Entering the third tournament of the season, the Judi Garman Classic, it seemed that the Mustangs’ losing streak would continue to grow, especially with the outcomes of their first two days of the tournament. The team racked up three more losses against No. 5 UCLA, Loyola Marymount and No. 23 Arizona State to bring their season record to 0-13.
On the third day of the tournament, after reflecting on previous defeats and looking forward to the next step the team would need to take on the field, senior shortstop Maddie Amos remembered how her team remained optimistic and resilient despite hardship.
“We knew a win was going to come at some point,” Amos said. “Our main goal was to make sure that we won the next. We didn’t take our frustrations out on each other and we just kept pushing.”
In their 14th game of the season, a matchup against Penn, the Mustangs earned their first victory with an 8-0, five-inning sweep. Then, another win was achieved in their next game against Fresno State, 5-2.
The 13-game losing streak that began the 2022 season was finally over.
“Honestly, I think winning our first game was a reminder that we knew how to win,” Allman said.
Now, the Mustangs are in the midst of Big West play and the results have been much more successful than their non-conference matchup.
Cal Poly caught fire and went on an eight-game winning streak after their rough start to the year. Although this streak was broken by Fresno State on Apr. 19, the conference winning streak remained in tact.
The Mustangs rattled off 10 Big West Conference wins in a row from Apr. 2 through Apr. 23, which was the longest streak in program history since taking 13 straight in 2009, before losing to Long Beach State in the third game of the series on Apr. 23 and 24.
Cal Poly’s streak of four straight conference series wins remains, as they have now taken down UC Santa Barbara, Hawaii, CSU Bakersfield and Long Beach State in four weekends in a row.
“It’s been fun seeing the momentum change and for the team to build on it,” head coach Jenny Condon said.
The Mustangs now are in fourth place in the Big West standings, just one game behind third-place Hawaii (18-15, 12-6 Big West), two games behind second-place Long Beach State (23-19, 13-5 Big West) and four games behind conference-leading Cal State Fullerton (31-15, 15-3 Big West).
Condon said her team has its eyes set on winning a conference title and they are carrying this drive of determination throughout the rest of the season.
“If other teams are winning or losing, we can’t control that,” Condon said. “So, if we can focus on the games that we’re playing and control the game like we’re capable of, I think we’ll have a successful run at the end of the year.”
The Mustangs have three Big West series remaining, with the first coming on Saturday, Apr. 30 when they take on No. 1 seeded Cal State Fullerton. A series win would go a long way in continuing the Mustangs’ climb up the conference standings.
“I would love to beat Fullerton,” Amos said. “With them as are our conference leaders right now, taking that away from them would be awesome.”