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Mustangs Host UCSB, Visit Cal State Northridge for Weekend Series

Mustangs Host UCSB, Visit Cal State Northridge for Weekend Series

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

VIDEO PREVIEW: JENNY CONDON

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly softball program looks to break back into the Big West Conference championship race when hosting Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara for a 3 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday, April 10 at Bob Janssen Field (the split series will conclude with a 3 p.m. single game on Wednesday, April 17 in San Luis Obispo). The Mustangs conclude action this week when visiting Cal State Northridge for a three-game April 13-14 series at Matador Diamond. Despite dropping two of three home games against Pacific during an April 6-7 series, Cal Poly (16-22-1, 5-4) remained in fourth place in the Big West standings, but slid two games behind both the second-place Tigers (22-18, 7-2) and Long Beach State (25-15, 7-2). The Mustangs, who opened their Big West slate by dropping two of three home contests versus Long Beach State (March 23-24), are seeking their first series win at Bob Janssen Field since taking two of three games from Cal State Northridge April 14-15, 2012. Idle from Big West action this past weekend, seventh-place UC Santa Barbara (21-15, 2-4) dropped a pair of five-inning, rule-rule contests at No. 19 Arizona (April 6 and 7). Eighth-place Cal State Northridge (15-23, 1-5), which dropped two of three games during an April 6-7 series at UC Davis, visits Long Beach State for a 3 p.m. matchup on Wednesday before welcoming Cal Poly.  

HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG SOFTBALL THIS WEEK: Dave Grant (Twitter: @DaveCPMustangs) returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail for Cal Poly's Wednesday doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara for GoPoly.com HERE. Live stats and streaming video will also be available for the doubleheader and during Cal Poly's April 13-14 three-game set at Cal State Northridge HERE.  

CONDON ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: One more conference victory by the Mustangs will provide ninth-year head coach Jenny Condon her 100th Big West win at the helm of Cal Poly. Condon will also become just the 10th head coach in conference history with 100 Big West wins. Entering Wednesday's doubleheader versus UC Santa Barbara, Condon is 229-208-1 overall at Cal Poly and 99-72 in Big West contests.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: After being swept by the Gauchos during each of the previous two seasons, the Mustangs look to snap a six-game slide versus UC Santa Barbara. Cal Poly's last win against UC Santa Barbara and last series triumph versus the Gauchos came during a three-game road sweep in 2010. Cal Poly, which also swept the Gauchos at home in 2009, is 12-12 versus UC Santa Barbara under ninth-year head coach Jenny Condon and 34-27 overall at the Division I level.

CAL POLY VERSUS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal Poly has dropped just three total games in four trips to Cal State Northridge under Jenny Condon and maintains a 17-7 mark against the Matadors under the ninth-year head coach. The Mustangs, who captured last year's home series against the Matadors, trail Cal State Northridge in the Division I series between the two programs, 31-22.

ANDERSEN ENJOYING BREAKOUT ROLE: A .182 career hitter entering her 2013 junior season, third baseman Jillian Andersen has batted .400 (18-for-45) during Cal Poly's past 14 games and enters the program's April 10 doubleheader versus UC Santa Barbara ranked eighth among Big West players with a .325 mark and ninth with a .412 on-base percentage and 37 hits. Andersen, who has hit safely in 13 of Cal Poly's past 14 games, also ranks second among Mustangs with nine multi-hit contests. Defensively, Andersen has started all 39 games for Cal Poly at third base after spending her first two seasons at second and in the outfield and ranks second among Big West performers with 94 assists.

WURST MAINTAINS DOMINANT FORM IN THE CIRCLE: Though just 9-10-1 this season, two of lefthander Chloe Wurst's victories have come against ranked opposition and the sophomore enters Cal Poly's April 10 doubleheader versus UC Santa Barbara ranked third among conference performers in inning pitched (130.0) and starts (21), fourth in ERA (2.32), fifth in victories and sixth in strikeouts (83). Exceptionally strong of late, Wurst tossed back-to-back complete game shutouts at Cal State Fullerton to earn April 1 Big West Pitcher of the Week praise and has compiled a 1.38 ERA during her previous five appearances. Wurst, who owns victories against No. 18 Washington (Feb. 18) and No. 13 Georgia (Feb. 22), struck out a career-high seven hitters for the sixth time this season at CSU Bakersfield (March 17). Wurst also features a 4.0-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, is averaging 0.64 strikeouts per inning and among NCAA Division I pitchers, ranks 20th with just 1.13 walks allowed per seven innings.

CAL POLY'S TABLE SETTER: Batting from the leadoff spot in the lineup during every game this season, junior second baseman Ashley Romano has reached safely in 33 of 39 contests and, at 10 successive games between Feb. 23 and March 8, owns Cal Poly's second-lengthiest streak of the season. Entering Cal Poly's April 10 doubleheader versus UC Santa Barbara, Romano leads the Mustangs and ranks second among conference players in at-bats (132), third in plate appearances (150), seventh in walks (17) and eighth in runs (24). Romano, who has struck out just nine times this season and only twice during the previous 15 games, also ranks third in Cal Poly's lineup with 32 hits. Defensively, Romano has started all 39 contests and sits ninth among Big West players with 72 assists.

WESTLUND CONTINUES WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: An All-Big West second team selection last season after leading Cal Poly in seven offensive categories, junior shortstop Kim Westlund enters the program's April 10 doubleheader versus UC Santa Barbara ranked second among Mustangs with a .313 batting average and 36 hits. Westlund also ranks fourth among Big West players with 20 walks and ninth with a .412 on-base percentage. A .301 (124-for-412) career hitter at Cal Poly, Westlund has produced a season-high three hits against San Jose State (Feb. 10) and San Diego State (Feb. 15), a season-high three RBI versus Long Island (Feb. 24) and No. 8 California (March 1), hit safely 24 times, reached safely in 31 contests and leads the Mustangs with 10 multi-hit games. Defensively, Westlund has started all 39 games this season, 133 of a possible 135 during her Cal Poly career and currently leads all Big West players with 95 assists.

CLOSE, BUT … : Spotlighted by a 7-6, nine-inning loss against No. 21 Stanford (Feb. 9), a 1-0 defeat versus No. 24 Kentucky (Feb. 14) and a 2-1 loss against No. 9 Oregon (Feb. 23), 10 of Cal Poly's 22 defeats this season have come by a single run. Conversely, Cal Poly has won eight games by a single run. Overall, 46.2 percent of Cal Poly's games this season have been decided by one run.

MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2013: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Jenny Condon's nine-year tenure, Cal Poly is again contesting one of the most competitive schedules in Division I softball during the 2013 campaign. In total, nine of Cal Poly's opening 18 games occurred against programs ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll (ranking from date of game).

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: For the first time through 924 contests during 19 Division I seasons, Cal Poly saw a game end in a tie after the program's Feb. 24 matchup versus Utah was halted at 1-1 due to the Utes' flight arrangements.

LOOKING AHEAD (APRIL 15-21): Cal Poly concludes its season series against Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara with a 3 p.m. single game on Wednesday, April 17. The Mustangs then wrap their 2013 home slate at Bob Janssen Field when welcoming No. 15 and Big West-leading Hawai'i for a three-game series that opens with a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, April 19. Cal Poly has faced Hawai'i (31-7, 9-0) four times at the Division I level, but not since dropping a 3-0 decision on Feb. 13, 1998. Hawai'i, which contests a three-game April 13-14 series at Cal State Fullerton and visits Cal State Bakersfield on April 16 before facing Cal Poly, will be the highest-ranked team to visit Bob Janssen Field since No. 14 UCLA swept a March 27, 2012 doubleheader from the Mustangs.

ETC.: Cal Poly's three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton (April 29-30) marked the program's first conference road sweep since rolling UC Santa Barbara (April 10-11, 2010) and the first road sweep of the Titans in program history.