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Mustangs Wrap Home Slate versus UC Santa Barbara, No. 15 Hawai’i

Mustangs Wrap Home Slate versus UC Santa Barbara, No. 15 Hawai’i

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

VIDEO PREVIEWS: JENNY CONDON | KIM WESTLUND

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly softball program opens its final home stand of 2013 and closes its season series against Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara when hosting the Gauchos for a 3 p.m. single game on Wednesday, April 17 at Bob Janssen Field. The Mustangs (17-26-1, 6-8) then conclude their 18-game home schedule when hosting No. 15 and Big West Conference-leading Hawai'i for a three-game set that opens with a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, April 19 and closes with a 2 p.m. Senior Day matchup on Saturday, April 20. After dropping two of three games during an April 13-14 series at Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly slid into fifth place in the Big West standings. Just 6-8 at Bob Janssen Field this season, Cal Poly looks to post its first winning home mark since the 2009 season. Fourth-place UC Santa Barbara (25-16, 6-5), which leads Cal Poly by one-and-a-half games in the Big West standings, completed last week by taking two of three games from UC Davis – including closing the series with successive 1-0 triumphs. Hawai'i (33-8, 11-1), just the fourth ranked team to visit Cal Poly during the previous seven seasons, opened its first year of Big West competition by winning 11 successive contests. The Rainbow Wahine, who lead Pacific (25-20, 10-4) by two games atop the conference standings, visit CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, April 16 before heading west to 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 contest against UC Santa Barbara and weekend series versus No. 15 Hawai'i for GoPoly.com HERE. Live stats and streaming video will also be available for Cal Poly's remaining home games through GoPoly.com HERE.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: After being swept by the Gauchos during each of the previous two seasons and dropping the opening two games of this year's series on April 10, the Mustangs look to snap an eight-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 12-14 versus UC Santa Barbara under ninth-year head coach Jenny Condon and 34-29 overall at the Division I level.

CAL POLY VERSUS HAWAI'I: The Mustangs and Rainbow Wahine have met just four previous times at the Division I level – and not since Hawai'i edged Cal Poly 3-0 on Feb. 13, 1998. The only other meetings between the two programs occurred during Cal Poly's 1995 inaugural Division I season. Overall, the series is knotted at 2-2.

CONDON MAKES HISTORY: Ninth-year Mustang head coach Jenny Condon became just the 10th individual in Big West history to earn 100 conference victories following Cal Poly's 2-1 win at Cal State Northridge on April 14. Entering Wednesday's game versus UC Santa Barbara, Condon is 230-212-1 overall at Cal Poly and 100-76 in Big West contests.

ANDERSEN ENJOYING BREAKOUT ROLE: A .182 career hitter entering her 2013 junior season, third baseman Jillian Andersen (above) has batted .397 (25-for-63) during Cal Poly's past 19 games and enters the program's April 17 contest versus UC Santa Barbara ranked fourth among Big West players with a .333 mark and 44 hits and ninth with a .409 on-base percentage. Andersen, who has hit safely in 16 of Cal Poly's past 19 games, also ranks second among Mustangs with 11 multi-hit contests. After failing to produce a three-hit game during her first two years, Andersen owns a team-leading five such performances this season. Andersen, who ranks third among Big West hitters with 10 sacrifice bunts, has successfully advanced baserunners a Cal Poly-best 45 of 74 times (61 percent). Among NCAA Division I hitters, Andersen ranks as the 47th toughest player to strike out, having averaged just one strikeout per 22 at-bats. Defensively, Andersen has started all 44 games for Cal Poly at third base after spending her first two seasons at second and in the outfield and ranks third among Big West performers with 103 assists.

WURST MAINTAINS DOMINANT FORM IN THE CIRCLE: Though just 10-12-1 this season, two of lefthander Chloe Wurst's victories have come against ranked opposition and the sophomore enters Cal Poly's April 17 contest versus UC Santa Barbara ranked second among conference performers in inning pitched (146.0), fifth in ERA (2.45) and victories and sixth in strikeouts (89). 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's other notable performances this season include back-to-back complete-game shutouts of Cal State Fullerton to earn April 1 Big West Pitcher of the Week honors. In 29 appearances this season, Wurst features a 3.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is averaging 0.61 strikeouts per inning and, among NCAA Division I pitchers, ranks 20th with just 1.15 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 36 of 44 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 17 contest versus UC Santa Barbara, Romano leads the Mustangs and ranks second among conference players in at-bats (148), third in plate appearances (167), ninth in runs (26) and 11th in walks (17). Romano, who has struck out just 10 times this season and only twice during the previous 16 games, also ranks third in Cal Poly's lineup with 37 hits. Defensively, Romano has started all 44 games and sits ninth among Big West players with 84 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 17 contest versus UC Santa Barbara ranked second among Mustangs with a .323 batting average and 42 hits. Westlund also ranks sixth among Big West players with 21 walks and 10th with a .408 on-base percentage. A .305 (130-for-427) career hitter at Cal Poly, Westlund has produced a season-high three hits against San Jose State (Feb. 10), at San Diego State (Feb. 15) and at Cal State Northridge (April 13); a season-high three RBI versus Long Island (Feb. 24) and No. 8 California (March 1); hit safely 27 times; reached safely in 34 contests and leads the Mustangs with 12 multi-hit games. Defensively, Westlund has started all 44 games this season, 138 of a possible 140 during her Cal Poly career and currently ranks second among Big West players with 107 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), 12 of Cal Poly's 26 defeats this season have come by a single run. Conversely, Cal Poly has won nine games by a single run. Overall, one run has decided 47.7 percent of Cal Poly's games this season.

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 22-28): Cal Poly closes the 2013 regular season with a six-game road trip that opens with a three-game April 27-28 set at last-place UC Riverside. The Mustangs and Highlanders will contest a 12 noon doubleheader on Saturday, April 27 before closing the series with a 12 noon single game on Sunday. In four previous trips to UC Riverside and 12 total road matchups versus the Highlanders, Cal Poly has dropped just one contest.

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.