SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior third baseman Jillian Andersen (right) finished Wednesday's doubleheader versus Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara with a team-leading four hits – including a career-high three during the opening game – but the Cal Poly softball program dropped both ends of the matchup at Bob Janssen Field, falling 3-1 and 1-0.
During Wednesday's second contest, neither program advanced a baserunner past first until the top of the fifth, when UC Santa Barbara designated player Jessica Reichner dropped a two-out base hit down the left field line to place pinch runner McKenzie Kane in scoring position. Gaucho center fielder Jessica Soria followed by lining a shot up the middle to score Kane and provide the decisive run.
Cal Poly (16-24-1, 5-6), which finished without advancing a player into scoring position, enjoyed its best opportunity to break through against UC Santa Barbara starting righthander Alex Pingree during the bottom half of the fifth. Junior catcher Mariah Cochiolo led off the inning with an infield single, but junior center fielder Lauren Moreno popped out attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Mustang freshman first baseman Breana West next grounded into a double play to end any threat.
Despite scattering five hits and not walking a batter during Wednesday's opener, Mustang sophomore righthander Jordan Yates (4-10) suffered the defeat.
During Wednesday's opening contest, Cal Poly sophomore starting lefthander Chloe Wurst (9-11-1) allowed just one hit against the Gauchos during the opening two innings before committing an error in the third that led to UC Santa Barbara's opening run. After Gaucho catcher Sami Stark led off the inning with a double to right field, Wurst mishandled a grounder from Soria to place runners at the corner bases. Gaucho right fielder Arianna Palomares then delivered a single to left field to score pinch runner Janessa Jeppesen and hand UC Santa Barbara a 1-0 lead.
Despite collecting six hits through the opening four innings against UC Santa Barbara starting righthander Shelby Wisdom (13-10), Cal Poly failed to advance a baserunner past second until deadlocking the scoreline in the fifth. With two down, Andersen lined her career-high third hit to center field. Three pitches later, junior shortstop Kim Westlund lashed a double into the right center field gap to plate Andersen.
The Gauchos (23-15, 4-4), however, required just another half inning to reclaim their lead. After drawing a four-pitch leadoff walk from Wurst, Gaucho second baseman Kathryn Pilpil moved to second through a Wisdom sacrifice bunt. The Mustangs then elected to intentionally walk UC Santa Barbara's fourth-leading hitter – shortstop Keilani Jennings – and, two batters later, first baseman Lauren Boser singled to left center to plate Pilpil.
UC Santa Barbara tacked on its final run in the top of the seventh with Palomares singling under West's glove at first to score Soria.
Cal Poly's best chance to knot the scoreline occurred during the sixth as a one-out throwing error by Wisdom on a ball struck by Moreno sent the Mustang left fielder to second base. A West groundout pushed Moreno to third, but Cal Poly center fielder Whitley Gerhart grounded out to end the inning.
Westlund finished with two doubles and Moreno added two hits for Cal Poly, which collected nine as a team during the second game.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara will wrap their 2013 season series with a 3 p.m. single game on Wednesday, April 17.
The Mustangs continue Big West Conference action when visiting Cal State Northridge for a three-game April 13-14 series.