It was only a matter of time.
With Lisa Modglin putting up the kind of numbers she has been all season, sooner or later, opposing teams would begin intentionally walking Cal Poly’s star senior center fielder.
It officially began in the Mustangs’ 2-1 Big West Conference series victory at Cal State Northridge last weekend, in which Modglin was 3 for 3 with 10 walks (three intentional) and one hit-by-a-pitch. Through last Sunday, Modglin leads all Division I players in batting average (.516) and slugging percentage (1.063).
“I don’t know how common that is, but I assume it’s not very common,” Modglin said Monday of all the walks. “You don’t know coming up for your next at-bat whether they’re going to throw to you or not and what mindset you need to be in.”
Modglin, though, said she would not mind if she gets the same treatment at the plate this weekend when Cal Poly (32-10, 8-1 Big West) visits nonconference foe UC Davis for a noon doubleheader Saturday and then the final game of the series at noon Sunday.
“It’s frustrating in the sense that you don’t know how to really be prepared, but I’m a leadoff batter, and my only real goal is to get to first base. I think it’ll be a good series. We need to get our three wins.”
Getting wins has come easy this season. The Mustangs, though, are yet to be ranked in either of the two Division I polls.
In WarrenNolan.com’s Ratings Percentage Index rankings, which simulate the NCAA playoff selection committee’s secret formula for determining postseason-bound teams, Cal Poly is 29th among 277 Division I programs.
Although just numbers floating around on the Internet right now, the figures could become an important reality to the Mustangs as they head into their final 12 regular-season games of the season.
Cal Poly was controversially left out of the postseason in 1997, 2005 and 2006. Modglin was on the 2005 team that went 35-16 overall, finished second in conference and was passed up by the committee for third-place Cal State Fullerton. She thinks things could be different this time around, regardless of whether Cal Poly wins the Big West outright.
“That year was an awesome year,” Modglin said of 2005, Condon’s first as Cal Poly’s head coach. “It was a really good breakthrough season for us. We didn’t quite have the strength of schedule we have this year. We didn’t have that in the past. . We know we can beat any team in the nation.”
The Mustangs are only 3-5 against ranked teams this season, but are 10-8 against last year’s NCAA Tournament qualifiers.
A lot of that has had to do with Modglin, who is also seventh nationally in runs scored per game (1.2), tied for third in home runs per game (0.4), tied for 28th in RBI per game (1) and tied for 14th in triples per game (0.13).
But the Simi Valley native is not the only Mustang with pop in her bat.
Jackie Gehrke-Jones (.376), Melissa Pura (.350), Krysten Cary (.328) and Sarah Iwata (.316) are all batting above .300. Pura has seven home runs, 37 RBI and 79 total bases – all second to Modglin.
Cal Poly has been just as sharp in the circle, with pitchers Robyn Kontra (9-3), Jenna Maiden (10-3), Emily Hively (8-0) and Helen Pe¤a (5-4) combining for nine shutouts, 24 complete games and a 1.92 staff ERA, led by Pe¤a’s 1.75 mark.
“I think it’s just all kind of come together this year,” Modglin said.