SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Sophomore starting lefthander Chloe Wurst tossed a complete-game seven-hitter and struck out three batters, but two run-scoring singles from Hawai'i shortstop Jessica Iwata accounted for the difference on Saturday afternoon at Bob Janssen Field as the Cal Poly softball program was edged by the 15th-ranked Rainbow Wahine, 2-1.
Hawai'i (37-8, 14-1) wasted little time in grabbing the only lead of the day as right fielder Keiki Carlos followed catcher Kayla Wartner's one-out single with a double to place two Rainbow Wahine in scoring position. Shortstop and cleanup hitter Jessica Iwata then delivered Hawai'i a first-inning lead for the second time in three series games by singling through the left side of the infield to score Wartner.
Cal Poly, contesting its final home game of 2013, compiled a swift reply. After drawing a full-count walk to lead off Cal Poly's portion of the first, junior third baseman Jillian Andersen moved to second on junior second baseman Ashley Romano sacrifice bunt and, two batters later, tied the scoreline following junior catcher Mariah Cochiolo's (above) two-out double over the head of Carlos in right field.
Retired in order during the second, Hawai'i regained its one-run advantage in the third as Iwata picked up her second RBI of the day by singling through the right side of the infield to score center fielder Kelly Majam.
Wurst (10-14-1) held Hawai'i to two hits the remainder of the day, but Cal Poly squandered leadoff base hits by junior right fielder Cami Brown in the third and freshman pinch hitter Betsy Colburn in the fifth.
In the sixth, Mustang junior shortstop Kim Westlund lined a one-out single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Hawai'i left fielder Brynne Buchanan following a Cochiolo flyout. However, Rainbow Wahine starting righthander Kaia Parnaby (34-4) – the nation's leader in victories in season – induced a fly out from junior left fielder Lauren Moreno to break the Mustang rally.
Saturday's loss marked Cal Poly's 13th one-run defeat of the season and fourth one-run defeat against a ranked opponent.
Cal Poly (18-29-1, 7-11) closes the 2013 season with a six-game road trip that begins with an April 27-28 three-game series at UC Riverside.