Cal Poly Softball dropped all three games to Cal State Fullerton from May 4-5 and are now locked into finishing in the bottom two spots of the Big West Conference.
Cal Poly (10-37, 4-13) lost 2-1 in series opener against the No. 1 team in the Big West Conference on Saturday, May 4. In the first matchup of the doubleheader, junior righthander Steffie Best did not allow any hits from Cal State Fullerton (34-16, 14-3) for the first 3 2/3 innings.
The Mustangs were struggling while up to bat as well. The first 11 hitters in the lineup were retired by the Titan’s starting righthander Dani Martinez (16-6.) Freshmen designated player Lily Amos got a walk off in the top of the fourth. The first hit for Cal Poly came from junior first baseman Hailey Martin. The first run was delivered by senior catcher Makenna Young’s RBI single, bringing Amos home.
Best only allowed a hit from Daisy Munoz in the fourth then got out of the fifth retiring the Titans. In the bottom of the sixth, Best allowed a walk, which was followed by Fullerton’s center fielder’s infield single. The lead runner advanced to third on a fly out from the Titan’s third baseman and scored off of the next hitter’s sacrifice fly. Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton were tied at 1-1 at the bottom of the sixth. The score remained tied after the seventh inning, and the game went to extra innings.
When the Titans hit two singles in the eighth inning, The Mustangs’ defense kept the hope of upsetting the first place team alive with a double-play on a grounder. However, Cal Poly remained without a hit for a fifth-consecutive inning and Cal State Fullerton ended it in the ninth inning.
Best recorded two outs on eight pitches before Cal State Fullerton shortstop Sam Kennedy singled up the middle, skimming Best’s glove. The Titans’ Julia Valenzuela five-pitch walk was followed by a double from Kelsie Whitmore for the 2-1 Cal State Fullerton win.
In game two, Cal Poly scored the opening run in the first inning but were held scoreless for the rest of Cal State Fullerton’s 6-1 win. Young secured the game’s opening run in the top of the first for the second time of the day, doubling home sophomore second baseman Sarah Wulff.
Cal State Fullerton senior outfielder Ari Williams singled with one down before sophomore infielder Deshea Hill grounded a ball to senior Noa Yakir on the third base line. Yakir threw wide to Wulff at second base, allowing Williams to score and tie the match 1-1.
The next inning, the Titans took off with a two-out homer from junior outfielder Kelsie Whitmore. Cal State Fullerton now led 3-1 in the bottom of the second. Williams kept the Titan’s momentum going with a triple to right center, bringing freshmen utility player Alexa Neil home. The score was 4-1 going into the third inning.
Cal Poly starting sophomore righthander Dakota Casper (2-9) did not allow a hit from the Titans in the third. In the fourth, Whitmore scored her second home run of the day bringing the lead 6-1 over the Mustangs.
In the second game, Cal Poly accumulated five hits, three coming from Wulff which was a career best. The remaining two hits were added by junior designated player Shelby Jeffries.
Cal Poly was held to just one run for the fourth consecutive game in a 2-1 loss on Sunday. In the third inning, Cal Poly loaded up the bases with junior shortstops Alyssa McKiernan’s single, a fielder’s choice by sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos and Wulff’s full count walk. Yakir’s grounder brought in McKiernan, making it the third straight game that the Mustangs started with a 1-0 lead.
Cal State Fullerton tied up the score in the bottom half of the fourth with shortstop Sam Kennedy’s sacrifice fly for the second out. After the Titans scored, the bases were loaded, but a ground out kept the score at 1-1. Best then retired all of Cal State Fullerton’s hitters in the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Cal Poly loaded up the bases again, but the Mustangs failed to capitalize. Titan junior righthander Taylor Dockins (5-5) caught Martin’s line drive for the second out and then struck out Jeffries for the third out.
Ramos singled with two down in the top of the seventh, but Wulff’s pop fly was caught for the third out.
The bottom of the seventh began a fielding error by Wulff. Cal State Fullerton catcher Julia Valenzuela reached first base. With two outs, Titan junior infielder Zoe Richard singled up the middle to secure Cal State Fullerton’s 2-1 victory to complete the sweep.
Cal Poly will end its 2019 season with by hosting UC Santa Barbara (8-41, 2-16) inside Bob Janssen Field from May 10-11. The Gauchos need to sweep the Mustangs to climb out of last place in the Big West. The three-game series will kick-off with a double header on Friday at 3 p.m.