SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Sophomore starting lefthander Chloe Wurst (right) matched a career high with seven strikeouts during the Cal Poly softball team's Friday doubleheader opening game against No. 15 Hawai'i, but the Rainbow Wahine allowed just three hits as the Mustangs dropped a 4-0 decision at Bob Janssen Field. Despite taking a first-inning lead during the nightcap, Cal Poly also fell in the second game, 3-1.
During Friday's second game, Cal Poly (18-28-1, 7-10) notched its lone run of the day during the bottom of the first inning. Hawai'i starting righthander Kaia Parnaby (33-4) struck Mustang junior third baseman Jillian Andersen with the first pitch of the game and, two batters later, junior catcher Mariah Cochiolo dropped a bunt in front of Parnaby. Cochiolo reached safely, but Parnaby overthrew first baseman Leisha Li'ili'i, a miscue that allowed Andersen to score and provide Cal Poly a 1-0 lead.
Cal Poly, however, was held to just three hits the remainder of the game and placed only one more baserunner in scoring position the rest of the day. The latter instance – Cal Poly's best chance to extend its lead – occurred during the third as junior right fielder Cami Brown beat out a grounder to Hawai'i third baseman Kaile Nakao before advancing to third through an Andersen groundout and a sacrifice bunt from junior second baseman Ashley Romano. Parnaby, however, struck out Mustang junior shortstop Kim Westlund during a seven-pitch at-bat to stem the Cal Poly threat.
The Big West Conference-leading Rainbow Wahine (36-8, 13-1) returned during the top of the fourth to find the equalizing run through shortstop Jessica Iwata's leadoff home run to left field. Hawai'i then delivered the decisive blows in the fifth, first taking a 2-1 lead after catcher Kayla Wartner followed left fielder Brynne Buchanan's leadoff double with a run-scoring single down the right field line. Two batters later, Iwata singled home pinch runner Dori Ann Sugai to finalize the scoreline.
Mustang sophomore righthander Jordan Yates (5-12) suffered the loss after allowing nine Hawai'i hits in four and on-third innings of work.
During Friday's opening contest, Hawai'i required just three batters to snatch the only lead of the game as right fielder Keiki Carlos followed a one-out single from Wartner with a run-scoring triple to right center. The Rainbow Wahine then doubled their lead during the second as designated player Sharla Kleibenstein swatted a two-out home run over the left field fence.
Wurst (10-13-1), who struck out seven hitters for the seventh time this season, returned to allow just two Hawai'i baserunners past first between the third and fifth innings. After stranding two baserunners to close the sixth, Wurst allowed Hawai'i's final two runs in the seventh as Li'ill'I singled through the right side of the infield to score Carlos and Wartner.
Cal Poly failed to move a runner past second until the fourth, when Cochiolo followed Westlund's one-out walk with a two-out base on balls of her own. Parnaby, however, struck out Mustang junior designated player Celina Lafrades to snap Cal Poly's scoring opportunity.
Junior left fielder Lauren Moreno opened Cal Poly's portion of the fifth with a base hit and reached third through successive sacrifice bunts from senior center fielder Whitley Gerhart and Brown. Andersen, however, flew out to end the inning.
Cal Poly closes both the series against Hawai'i and its 2013 home schedule when facing the Rainbow Wahine at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. Prior to the matchup, Cal Poly will honor the outgoing Gerhart for her four-year contribution to the program.