Credit: Annabelle Fagans | Mustang News, 2023

Cal Poly Softball dropped three of its four matchups at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic from Thursday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 25 in Cathedral City, Cali.

The Mustangs (6-4) fell in their matchups with Texas Tech (10-4), No. 24 Missouri (11-3) and Cal (13-2), but came out on top against the University of San Diego (2-12).

Thursday vs. Texas Tech

Cal Poly lost the weekend opener in heartbreaking fashion to Texas Tech by a score of 3-2. 

The Red Raiders got on the board in the top of the first with an RBI single, but it was quickly answered by the Mustangs.

Freshman left fielder Kiara Blanchard roped an RBI single in the bottom half that scored junior right fielder Juju Sargent and sophomore center fielder Jessica Clements to put Cal Poly ahead 2-1.

The next five innings was a pitcher’s duel, with freshman righthander Sophia Ramuno in the circle for the Mustangs.

The game remained scoreless until the seventh inning, when Texas Tech came up clutch with a pair of RBI knocks to pull ahead 3-2. 

Cal Poly came up empty in the bottom half of the seventh, notching its second loss of the season at that point after stranding 10 base runners throughout the game.

Thursday vs. No. 24 Missouri

The Mustangs then followed that up with a 9-1, mercy-rule loss to the University of Missouri.

Despite the final score, it was Cal Poly that jumped out to the first lead thanks to an RBI double from sophomore catcher Julia Barnett that scored Clements. 

This would be the only score and hit that the Mustangs had for the rest of the day.

Following two scoreless frames by sophomore righthander Paige Maier, the Tiger offense woke up to the tune of five runs in the third inning.

As the Cal Poly offense continued to struggle, Missouri added one run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to put the finishing touches on the win.

Friday vs. San Diego

Cal Poly Softball got its first win of the week in dramatic fashion, taking down the University of San Diego 6-5 in a nine-inning affair.

After a scoreless first three innings, San Diego got on the board in the fourth to take a 1-0 lead.

The Cal Poly offense finally woke up in the seventh, when Clements crossed home plate off a San Diego fielding error to tie the game and send it to extra innings. 

The Toreros cashed in their run in the top of the eighth, forcing the Mustangs to do the same. Sophomore Julia Barnett came up clutch in the bottom half with a single up the middle to bring in sophomore second baseman Caroline Allman and send it to the ninth.

The bats for both teams came alive in the ninth with seven combined runs. The Toreros brought in three runs off a homer, but the Mustangs responded with four runs, all of which were unearned. 

After Sargent scored the California tiebreaker run, junior shortstop Xiara Diaz reached on a fielding error and brought in Blanchard and Allman.

Junior first baseman Kai Barrett capped things off with a walk-off single down the line that brought home Diaz and gave Cal Poly its only win of the weekend.

Saturday vs. Cal

After a weather delay that lasted a little over an hour, Cal Poly wrapped up the weekend with an 8-3 loss against Cal.

After a scoreless first inning, Cal struck first after a rundown with the runner at first advanced the runner from third home to take the 1-0 lead.

The Mustangs responded in their half of the inning after an RBI groundout from junior infielder Mia Perez tied the game at one.

Both teams stranded runners in the third inning, while the Golden Bears took the lead and knocked Maier out of the game on a solo home run, an RBI single and an RBI double to make the score 4-1.

Cal Poly got one of those runs back on a Perez RBI single in the bottom half of the fourth to cut UC Berkeley’s lead to 4-2.

The Golden Bears had a scoreless fifth, while the Mustangs loaded the bases but only managed one run to cut Cal’s lead down to 4-3.

The top of the sixth saw the Golden Bears extend their lead to 6-3 on an RBI single and groundout while the Mustangs went down in order.

Cal further extended its lead on another solo home run and a sac fly to put this one out of reach for the Mustangs in the 8-3 final, and hand them their third loss of the tournament.

Cal Poly will now look towards their toughest challenge yet this season when they head to Fullerton, Cali. to play in the Judi Garman Classic, where they will play three teams ranked in the Top 25, including No. 1 UCLA, from Friday, Mar. 3 through Sunday, Mar. 5.