Cal Poly Softball kicked off its 2020 season in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament Friday, Feb. 7th at UCLA. After playing in four total games throughout the weekend, the Mustangs ended the tournament with a 2-2 record.

Friday

In its season opener, Cal Poly took on Pittsburgh, who already had won one game on the day. In a back-and-forth extra inning slugfest, the Mustangs edged out the Panthers by the score of 9-8.

After not allowing a run in the top half of the first inning, Cal Poly’s offense came out of the gates with momentum. Following a leadoff groundout, freshman outfielder Sydney Frankenberger reached on a fielding error and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and a stolen base. Senior designated player Shelby Jeffries drove her home with an RBI single. Later in the inning, freshman infielder Xiara Diaz drove home two runners with a single of her own to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead. 

Pittsburgh began the second inning with a leadoff home run to bring the score to 3-1, but Cal Poly extended the lead to four runs in the bottom of the second behind a two-run home run from Jeffries. 

In the third and fourth innings, the Panthers overtook the lead after scoring five unanswered runs powered by eight hits. The scoring drive including three extra base hits, one of which being an inside-the-park home run by sophomore infielder Katlyn Pavlick. The home run brought the score to 6-5 in favor of Pittsburgh.

The Mustangs were finally able to get back on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning while trailing 8-5. Cal Poly capitalized on a fielding error by the Panthers that came off the bat of senior first baseman Hailey Martin to bring the score to within two runs. 

Going into the bottom of the seventh, the Mustangs needed two runs to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Cal Poly took advantage of a fielding error by Pittsburgh yet again for two unearned runs, tying the game and sending it into an eighth inning. 

After holding the Panthers scoreless in the top half of the eighth inning, Jeffries drove in freshman catcher Kai Barrett with a walk-off sacrifice fly to grant the Mustangs their first win of the season.

In the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, Cal Poly took on tournament hosts No. 4 UCLA. Unlike the first game, the Mustangs did not fare well against the Bruins and fell in six innings by a score of 8-0 due to a run-rule.

The Mustangs were held to just three hits in total against junior pitcher Holly Azevedo, who threw six shutout innings and struck out five batters. Meanwhile, four Bruins recorded a multi-hit game in the win.

After scoring two runs in the bottom of the second, UCLA was held to two scoreless innings before driving in three runs in back-to-back innings to end the game through a mercy rule.

Barrett led the Mustangs on the offensive side of the ball with two of the Cal Poly’s three hits.

Saturday

Cal Poly dropped the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against University of San Diego, 4-3. 

The game began with a scoreless first inning from both squads. After the Mustangs couldn’t get a runner across home plate in the second, the Toreros opened the scoring in the bottom half of the second with an RBI single from senior catcher Madison Casiano.

Cal Poly’s offense bounced back quickly in the top of the third inning to capture the lead from San Diego. A two-RBI single off the bat of junior outfielder Noellah Ramos and an RBI single from Jeffries gave the Mustangs a 3-1 lead.

Despite the momentum swing, Cal Poly was held scoreless for the remainder of the game. San Diego scored a run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings for a 4-3 victory.

Cal Poly ended Saturday on a high note with a five inning affair against Cal State Bakersfield, who fell due to the run-rule by a score of 11-3. The Mustangs combined for 12 hits as a team and only allowed two hits for the Roadrunners.

The Mustangs took control of the game after allowing two runs in the top half of the first inning. Cal Poly’s offense drove in nine total runs in the first two innings to jump out to an early 9-2 lead. In the first inning, Jeffries got the scoring started for Cal Poly with a two-RBI double followed by a 2-RBI single from Diaz. Later in the inning, Barrett added a line-drive RBI single into center field to extend the score to 5-2.

In the second inning, Jeffries added her third RBI of the contest with an RBI double to bring home Frankenberger. Martin followed with a single down the leftfield line to bring in Jeffries from third base. To cap off the inning, sophomore infielder Maddie Amos doubled to center to bring home Martin and Diaz and increase the Mustangs’ lead to seven.

CSU Bakersfield produced one run in the top of the third inning. After a scoreless fourth inning, Cal Poly needed just two runs to end the game by run-rule in the bottom of the fifth.

After a double from Amos and a walk from senior infielder Alyssa McKiernan, Frankenberger stepped up to the plate with a chance to end the game. McKiernan hit a triple into right centerfield to score two runs and cap off an 11-3 victory for the Mustangs.

Sunday

The games scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9th were cancelled due to rain.

Jeffries led the offense throughout the weekend with eight RBIs on five hits, including Cal Poly’s lone home run. Senior pitcher Steffi Best threw 12.2 innings during the tournament, while sophomore pitcher Krystyna Allman was not far behind with 10.1 innings.

Cal Poly will open up the Fresno State Kickoff Classic on Friday, Feb. 14th against St. Mary’s at Fresno State.

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