After three straight conference series against UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, the Cal Poly softball team hosted a non-conference doubleheader against Cal on Thursday. The Mustangs dropped the first game 5-3, but came back to beat the Golden Bears 5-0 in the second game.
In the first game, the Golden Bears (23-18-1) got out to an early lead by rattling off four runs in the top of the first inning. They maintained a 4-0 lead until the top of the fifth, when they were able to add another run to their advantage.
Down 5-0, the Mustangs (20-18) attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three unearned runs to close the gap. But the deficit was too much to overcome and the Mustangs fell short.
In the second game, the Mustangs changed the narrative by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Junior outfielder Courtney Tyler singled to bring home sophomore pitcher Stephanie Heyward and junior designated player Sierra Hyland. Following Tyler’s hit, senior right fielder Betsy Colburn singled to plate senior first baseman Breana West to put the Mustangs up 3-0.
The Mustangs widened their advantage in the bottom of the third inning when Colburn hit a triple to right field to score Tyler and junior first baseman Shawna McDonough, who was pinch running for West. In the circle, Heyward earned her second win of the season by allowing only two hits and notching one strikeout.
Heyward led the way on offense for the Mustangs and went a combined 3-8 with two runs over the two games. Overall, the Mustangs stayed true to most of what their season has looked like: low-scoring affairs controlled by pitching, won with just enough offense.
Following this non-conference doubleheader, Cal Poly will host CSUN (25-19, 5-4 Big West) in a weekend series at Bob Janssen Field. CSUN, which currently sits at second in the Big West Conference standings, should be a great mid-season conference test for the Mustangs.