Starting pitcher Anna Cahn, who has seen her share of success this season, has been overshadowed by the success of freshman pitcher Rebecca Patton in recent weeks.
Cahn, the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Year, came into this series winless in her past five starts, after working her way to a 1.80 ERA and a (28-7) record last year. After Cal State Northridge nabbed both games in Saturday’s double-header, all signs pointed for the junior to continue her slump.
Don’t tell that to Cahn.
She and her teammates snatched the final game in Cal Poly’s (21-20, 10-5 Big West) three-game conference series against Cal State Northridge (26-21, 10-5) Sunday afternoon.
“I’m happy with my performance,” Cahn said. “It’s been hard the few weeks for me getting my pitches, hitting my spots and getting outs.”
Sunday, Cahn finished with 7 innings pitched allowing six hits and no earned runs. Cahn also started the second game of Saturday’s double header, going 5 and 2/3 innings and allowing three earned runs.
“I think she did great,” Patton said. “It was really good to see her get back in her rhythm.”
After continuing her dominance through most of the non-conference schedule, Cahn began to struggle in conference — allowing five earned runs in two innings in his first conference start. Since then, problems with her location have continued to resurface, she said. In conference Cahn has a 2.91 ERA a 3-4 record and allowed 51 hits in nine appearances.
For Cahn, Sunday was about getting back to the basics.
“For me today, it was about coming back — not thinking so much — and just knowing that I can pitch,” Cahn said.
With her new demeanor, Cahn tossed her first victory on Sunday since a 5-0 win April 11 against UC Santa Barbara, but as she found her rhythm, Patton struggled.
After boasting an undefeated record in conference, Patton started the first game of the series. She pitched seven innings allowing 10 hits and four earned runs as the Mustangs suffered a 5-0 loss.
“I struggled,” Patton said. “But we all have our ups and downs.”
The loss marks the end of Patton’s seven-game winning streak, but the freshman isn’t concerned. She is still optimistic of her performance in her team’s final six-game stretch.
“I’m not worried about it,” Patton said. “I believe in myself and I’ll come back whenever I pitch next throwing strong.”
That sentiment is one her and her coach share.
“Rebecca has had a great run,” Condon said. “She threw OK, but it wasn’t great and every pitcher has a little off day.”
Offensively, The Mustangs got the bats going in the second inning when Patton singled through the middle, bringing home Kendal Hennings from second.
In the fifth, Cahn knocked in another run with a double to center field.
The Matadors started their offense in the sixth inning with an RBI single by Jaci Carlsen that strangled the left field line and then threatened in the seventh.
With runners at second and third, Lauren Olivas lined out to third base to end the game and put the Mustangs record above .500.
“We came back strong today,” Patton said. “You can’t go out and win every single game.”
With the win the Mustangs climb back into a second place tie in the Big West with Cal State Northridge. UC Davis now leads the conference with a one game lead, but the Mustangs will get their swings at the conference leaders next week at Bob Janssen field – momentum in hand.
“I think that we can walk away today from today feeling good about what we brought and just build on that into next weekend,” Condon said.