SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior center fielder Whitley Gerhart's sixth-inning, two-run homer helped power the Cal Poly softball team to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory against Fresno State during the opening game of a Monday afternoon doubleheader at Bob Janssen Field. The Mustangs, however, dropped a 6-1, nine-inning decision during Monday's second game.
During Monday's first game, Cal Poly (12-20-1) pushed across the opening run during the bottom of the first inning as junior designated player Celina Lafrades produced a two-out single to plate junior second baseman Ashley Romano.
Held to a single hit during the opening two innings against Cal Poly starting righthander Jordan Yates, Fresno State (19-14) broke through with a three-run third as Bulldog first baseman Stesha Brazil and catcher Paige Gumz bookended sacrifice flies around right fielder Michelle Solomon's run-scoring double.
The Mustangs struck back in the fourth with two runs to deadlock the scoreline at 3-3. Junior third baseman Kim Westlund singled to lead off the inning before advancing to second through a Lafrades sacrifice. After catcher Mariah Cochiolo walked, junior left fielder Lauren Moreno followed with a base hit to right field that scored Westlund. Freshman first baseman Breana West then singled to score Moreno.
Fresno State reaffirmed its lead at 4-3 in the top of the sixth as left fielder Kapri Angotti singled with two outs to score second baseman Whitney Smith. On the sequence, Gerhart threw out Bulldog third baseman Vonnie Smith to preserve a one-run deficit.
Into the bottom of the sixth, Cochiolo drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second through a Moreno sacrifice. West then singled down the left field line to score Cochiolo and tie the game. Two pitches later, Gerhart rocketed her second homer of 2013 over the center field fence to hand Cal Poly a 6-4 lead.
Fresno State tagged Mustang lefthanded reliever Chloe Wurst for a run during the top of the seventh, but the sophomore stranded two runners to end the game and earn her first save of the season.
After walking just one Bulldog hitter in three innings of relief work, Mustang freshman lefthander Nicole Innamorato (3-3) earned the victory.
During Monday's second matchup, Fresno State grabbed a 1-0 lead during the top of the first as Brazil singled down the left field line with no outs to score center fielder Brenna Moss. The Bulldogs eventually knocked Wurst out of the starting circle, but Yates – who tossed eight and one-third innings of relief – stranded the Fresno State bases loaded to end the first.
Cal Poly answered with its lone run of the game in the third as Lafrades singled down the left field line to score Romano. Cal Poly, however, advanced just one baserunner into scoring position the remainder of the day.
Yates, meanwhile, kept Fresno State at bay by yielding just three hits between the second and seventh innings. The Bulldogs eventually broke the 1-1 deadlock with five runs during the top of the ninth, a feat highlighted by a two-run double from Brazil.
Yates (3-9) suffered the loss for Cal Poly, which received two hits from Moreno.
The Mustangs return to Big West Conference action when visiting Cal State Fullerton for a three-game March 29-30 series.