Jaren Wilkey BYU NewsNet

The Cal Poly softball team had the most successful season in program history come to a disappointing end Friday when it was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a 9-4 loss to Southern Utah.

Appearing in the tournament for the first time since moving to the Division I level in 1995, the Mustangs had their backs against the wall after a 9-0 loss to host BYU in the opener of the four-team, double-elimination regional Thursday at Gail Miller Field in Provo, Utah.

“It was disappointing to have (BYU) come out and take it to us because we knew we could play with them,” Cal Poly head coach Jenny Condon said Sunday. “It was disappointing to lose to Southern Utah. That’s the beautiful thing about the postseason – everybody’s 0-0.”

Southern Utah, the Mid-Continent Conference champion, entered Friday’s elimination game with a 29-30 overall record. Cal Poly, which won its first outright Big West Conference title this season, entered the same game 39-16.

The regional was eventually won by favored Arizona State – the seventh overall seed in the 64-team field – by a score of 6-3 over BYU on Saturday.

Cal Poly had an uphill battle almost from the get-go Thursday after surrendering six runs in the first inning to the Cougars, whom they had split a pair of games against during the regular season.

“The game doesn’t change,” Condon said. “The pressure is perceived pressure. They’ve pitched, played defense, played against top teams all year long. Sometimes that (pressure) factor they put on themselves.”

The Mustangs were outhit 24-13 in the two games, including a 14-4 margin Thursday.

“I don’t really feel like we felt pressure,” Cal Poly senior center fielder Lisa Modglin said Sunday. “We had really good warm-ups and were really relaxed.”

Modglin, Cal Poly’s Female Athlete of the Year, Big West Player of the Year and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-West Region first-teamer, was a combined 0 for 6 in the regional after finishing the regular season second nationally among all Division I players in batting average (.488).

Many trademarks of Cal Poly’s success all season were reversed. In the two games, the Mustangs left 17 runners stranded and neither of their respective starting pitchers (Robyn Kontra and Jenna Maiden) made it out of the first inning.

Still, Condon said the regional can serve as a building block for the program’s future.

“It was a good experience,” said Condon, who is 101-56 since coming to Cal Poly in 2005. “It will be a great experience for the returners going into next year. Having never been there, we can take a lot of things away from it. Obviously we didn’t play like we wanted to. Just because we had a bad weekend doesn’t mean we should take away anything the team accomplished. It helped move the program to the next level.”

Modglin agreed.

“It will help us a lot in the next few years,” said Modglin, one of five seniors. “It was new for us, so we didn’t really know what we were getting into. I think it’s a huge step. To get our feet in for the first time is awesome.”

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