After dropping two of three to Cal State Fullerton in its conference-opening series, the Cal Poly softball team dropped all three games against Long Beach State this weekend in Southern California.
It’s been that kind of season for Cal Poly (8-25, 1-5 Big West), which posted a 7-20 record through its non-conference schedule. The Mustangs have struggled both offensively and defensively after losing contributions from the record-setting Anna Cahn last year. Cahn, at the end of last season, became the first player in program history to earn All-Big West honors in each of her four seasons at Cal Poly.
The struggles continued this weekend against Long Beach State. In the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Mustangs fell to the 49ers 4-1.
Whitley Gerhart produced Cal Poly’s only run of the game, with an RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning. The 49ers, however, responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cruise to the series-opening win.
Chloe Wurst started in the circle for the Mustangs and pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits with four walks.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the 49ers edged the Mustangs again, 3-2.
Long Beach State opened with a two-run first inning, off RBIs from Jennifer Madigan and Alisha Rosen, against Mustang’s starter Jordan Yates. The 49ers then made it 3-0 in the third, with a sacrifice fly from Nalani St. Germain.
However, the Mustangs didn’t go away quietly. Madi Vogelsang hit an RBI double to center field to bring home Kim Westlund. In the next at-bat, Mariah Cochiolo hit an RBI single up the middle to bring the Mustangs within one run.
In the seventh, Gerhart doubled to right center to move the game-tying run into scoring position with one out. But the Mustangs wouldn’t capitalize. Celina Lafrades struck out looking and Nora Sobczak grounded out to second to end the game.
The Mustangs totaled six hits in the loss. Gerhart went 2 for 2 with a walk, while Westlund went 1 for 2 with a walk. Both Vogelsang and Cochiolo went 1 for 3 with an RBI, and Sobczak went 1 for 4.
In the final game of the series Sunday, the Mustangs scored a late run, but weren’t able to overcome the 49ers, falling to 2-1.
The 49ers got on the board first, with Megan Denio scoring on a wild pitch in the third. Long Beach State then scored another run in the fourth, off of an RBI from Shayna Kimbrough.
In the fifth inning, Sobczak reached on a throwing error, bringing home Shea Williams for the Mustangs first run of the game.
Westlund then opened the top of the sixth inning with a single and advanced to second off of a sacrifice bunt from Vogelsang. But again, with the game-tying run at second base, the Mustangs couldn’t land the clutch hit. Cochiolo grounded out to third base and Gerhart struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jordan Yates pitched six innings in the finale, finishing with two earned runs off five hits. Westlund led the team at the plate, going 2 for 3. Both Gerhart and Williams went 1 for 3.
With the series loss, the Mustangs are now tied with UC Riverside for last place in the Big West with a 1-5 conference record. Cal Poly, however, is just three wins out of a three-way tie for second place in the conference.
There will be a chance to get those wins next weekend, as the Mustangs return home for a three-game series against Cal State Northridge.
Brian De Los Santos contributed to this article.