Credit: Annabelle Fagans | Mustang News, 2023

Cal Poly Softball picked up three wins in its opening four games at the Central Coast Classic against Nevada and North Dakota from Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 12 at Bob Janssen Field.

The Mustangs (3-1) got off to a great start this season as they played host to the Wolfpack (4-1) and the Fighting Hawks (0-5).

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Video by Nate Mills

Friday vs. North Dakota

Cal Poly opened its season with a 3-0 win over North Dakota on Friday to kick off the weekend tournament.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Paige Maier, a member of the Big West All-Freshman Team last season, had a career-high of eight strikeouts through the full seven innings. 

Both teams were scoreless through the first three innings, and the Mustangs were held hitless until the fourth. However, the rally started with junior shortstop Xiara Diaz and sophomore catcher Julia Barnett reaching base in the fourth. hit a single. With runners at first and third, junior first baseman Kai Barrett singled to left to score Diaz and give the Mustangs the 1-0 lead. 

After a scoreless fifth, the Mustangs struck again in the sixth, as Barnett followed up sophomore designated player Caroline Allman reaching on an error with a homer over center field to put Cal Poly up 3-0. 

Maier only allowed two hits, a pair of singles, and didn’t allow a knock in the final 4 ⅓ innings of play.

Saturday vs. Nevada

Following a two-hour rain delay, the Mustangs finally got underway against the Wolfpack of Nevada for game two of the Central Coast Classic.

In her collegiate debut, freshman pitcher Sophia Ramuno dealt 4 ⅓ scoreless relief innings to shut down Nevada and seal a 3-2 Mustang victory.

After giving up two hits to open the top of the first, Maier got a lineout, popup and flyout to end the Wolfpack threat.

In the bottom half, singles from sophomore center fielder Jessica Clements and junior right fielder Juju Sargent and a walk from freshman third baseman Mylina Garza loaded the bases with one out. Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Clements, giving Cal Poly an early 1-0 lead.

Maier escaped another Nevada threat in the second after loading the bases with two outs, getting out of it following a popout in foul ground.

After the Mustangs came up empty in the home half of the second, the Wolfpack offense woke up. A leadoff home run tied the game, and two walks and a single followed to load the bases with two outs. 

Another Nevada single gave them a 2-1 lead and chased Maier from the game. Ramuno recorded a groundout to avoid further damage.

Cal Poly went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third and Nevada countered with a 1-2-3 inning of its own in the fourth.

A single from Allman and Barnett being hit by a pitch opened the bottom of the fourth for the Mustangs. A single from Barrett scored Allman to tie the game at 2-2.

Following a groundout, Clements singled through the right side to score sophomore pinch runner Jade Contapay to reclaim the Mustang lead, 3-2.

Ramuno found her groove, shoving three-up, three-down fifth and sixth innings to hold Cal Poly’s narrow lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Nevada threatened once again, loading the bases with no outs. With ice in her veins, Ramuno sat down the next three Wolfpack hitters to close out the win.

Ramuno earned the first win of her Mustang career, allowing just one hit in her 4 ⅓ innings.

Saturday vs. North Dakota

In game two of the Saturday doubleheader, Cal Poly stayed with the hot hand of Ramuno to pick up an 8-0, six-inning win against North Dakota, the second win over the Fighting Hawks on the weekend.

Ramuno (2-0) tossed five scoreless innings en route to her second win of the day.

The scoring opened in the bottom of the second after Allman reached on an error and Barnett singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Barrett then singled up the middle to give the Mustangs a 1-0 advantage.

A walk for redshirt sophomore second baseman Kenny Litana loaded the bases and a walk from Clements brought home the second run of the inning. Sargent hit a sacrifice fly to push the Cal Poly lead to 3-0 after two innings.

Following a scoreless top of the third, Garza blasted her first home run of the season to extend the Mustang lead to 4-0.

Cal Poly tacked on a run in the fourth and one in the fifth to make it 6-0.

In the top of the sixth, freshman pitcher Amy Ross made her Mustang debut, allowing just one hit in the scoreless frame.

Looking to end the game by mercy rule in the sixth, Garza scored Clements to make it 7-0. The walk-off run came via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Allman, scoring junior left fielder Claire Early to end the game after six innings of play.

Ramuno allowed just two hits to the Fighting Hawks, striking out six in the process to give Cal Poly its third win in two days.

Sunday vs. Nevada

Cal Poly took a loss of 4-1 in their last game of the tournament on Sunday. 

Ramuno took the mound for the Mustangs and struck out a career-high eight batters, keeping Nevada hitless until catcher Charli Hawkins tripled in the fourth.

Cal Poly was also held hitless until the fourth inning when freshman left fielder Kiara Blanchard hit a double with two outs. Allman then cashed in, singling up the middle to score Blanchard and break the scoreless tie at 1-0. 

However, the Wolfpack answered quickly with an RBI single of their own to tie the game back up a 1-1.

After a scoreless sixth inning, Nevada broke it open in the seventh. It started with a solo homer to kick off the inning and ended with a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs to give the Wolfpack a strong 4-1 lead.

The Mustangs got two runners on in the bottom half, but a game-ending double play handed them their first loss of the young season.

Cal Poly will continue its home stretch when they take on Idaho State for a doubleheader on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Bob Janssen Field.