Lauren Rabaino

The Cal Poly softball team went 2-3 at the Cathedral City Kick Off in Palm Springs over the weekend, bookending its five outings with victories over No. 2 Texas A&M on Friday and New Mexico State on Sunday.

In the season-opening 5-1 win over the Aggies at Big League Dreams Sports Park, sophomore pitcher Helen Peña went the distance, allowing her only run in the last inning.

Mustangs senior rightfielder Sarah Iwata led off the season by turning an Amanda Scarborough pitch into a ground-rule double to right field. Iwata moved to third on a wild pitch by Scarborough before junior second baseman Stephanie Tam singled into left field to put the Mustangs ahead 1-0.

Tam finished with a team-high three hits, while sophomore first baseman Krysten Cary and freshman catcher Stephanie Correia shared a team high of two RBI.

Texas A&M stranded 11 baserunners while Cal Poly won on opening day against a ranked foe for the second year in a row.

On Sunday, the Mustangs edged New Mexico State 5-3 in their finale thanks in large part to Cary’s three-RBI, bases-clearing double in the top of the first inning, in which they scored all but one of their runs.

Cal Poly senior pitcher Robyn Kontra held New Mexico State scoreless until the sixth inning while winning her season debut.

Between the two wins, the Mustangs fell 3-0 to San Diego State on Friday, 14-4 to No. 20 Oregon and 8-0 to No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday.

Correia went 3 for 3 and had a pair of RBI in the loss to the Ducks. Junior leftfielder Jenna Maiden chipped in two hits and crossed home plate twice in defeat. In the ensuing shutout at the hands of Volunteers starter Megan Rhodes, the Mustangs could muster just two hits.

The Mustangs will next travel to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, which they’ll open Friday against South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. before taking on Illinois at 3:45 p.m. The tournament runs through Sunday.

Second-half surge causes women’s basketball team’s loss

A lopsided second half precluded the Cal Poly women’s basketball team from setting a record for the best 10-game conference start in school history. The Mustangs were outscored 47-29 in the second half of a 70-55 loss at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night to fall into fourth place in the Big West Conference.

Senior guard Kyla Howell scored a team-high 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting for Cal Poly (9-14, 6-4 Big West), whose freshman forward Kristina Santiago added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Their efforts weren’t enough, though, as the Titans (8-14, 6-4) shot 52 percent from the floor after intermission, 28 percent better than they did in the first half, when they connected on just 1 of their 11 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.

Cal State Fullerton freshman guard Lauren Chow scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including a 6-of-13 performance from 3-point range.

Although Cal Poly held junior forward Toni Thomas, the conference’s leading scorer, to just seven points, freshman guard Ashley Richie posted 18 in the win.

A layup by Mustangs junior forward Megan Harrison trimmed their deficit to 40-38 with 13-and-a-half minutes remaining, but they got no closer down the stretch.

Cal Poly claimed its biggest lead of seven at 23-16 on a Harrison basket with 5:50 left in the first half; Cal State Fullerton obtained its most sizable advantage at the final score.

The Mustangs conclude their three-game road trip by tipping off at 2 p.m. Saturday at UC Santa Barbara.

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