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Mustangs Enter Big West Home Stretch at UC Riverside April 27-28

Mustangs Enter Big West Home Stretch at UC Riverside April 27-28

COMPLETE SERIES PREVIEW (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly softball program closes the 2013 regular season with a six-game road trip that begins with a three-game April 27-28 set at UC Riverside. The series at Amy S. Harrison Field gets underway with a 12 noon doubleheader on Saturday, April 27 before closing with a 12 noon single contest the ensuing Sunday. Despite owning the fourth-best conference win total among Big West programs, Cal Poly (18-29-1, 7-11) slipped to eighth place in the league standings after being swept at home last weekend by No. 15 Hawai'i – a three-game whitewash that the Mustangs dropped by just seven total runs. Seeking the program's highest showing in the Big West standings since finishing third during the 2010 season, Cal Poly enters the weekend series at UC Riverside trailing fourth-place UC Santa Barbara by just one-and-a-half games. UC Riverside (17-28, 1-13), meanwhile, remained bottom of the Big West standings after dropping two of three games during an April 20-21 series at UC Davis. Prior to hosting Cal Poly, the Highlanders close their three-game season series against Cal State Fullerton with an April 24 matchup.

HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG SOFTBALL THIS WEEK: Live stats for each of Cal Poly's April 27-28 series games at UC Riverside will be available through GoPoly.com HERE.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC RIVERSIDE: In four previous trips to UC Riverside and 12 total road matchups versus the Highlanders, Cal Poly has dropped just one contest. In total under ninth-year head coach Jenny Condon, Cal Poly owns a 17-7 record against the Highlanders and has dropped just two series to UC Riverside (2010, 2012). Cal Poly is 29-11 versus UC Riverside in 19 Division I seasons.

ANDERSEN ENJOYING BREAKOUT ROLE: A .182 career hitter entering her 2013 junior season, third baseman Jillian Andersen has batted .370 (17-for-46) during Cal Poly's past 15 games and enters the program's April 27-28 series at UC Riverside ranked fourth among Big West players with a .333 mark and seventh with 47 hits and a .420 on-base percentage. Andersen, who has hit safely in 17 of Cal Poly's past 22 games, also leads all Mustangs with 12 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 11 sacrifice bunts, has successfully advanced baserunners a Cal Poly-best 48 of 81 times (59.3 percent). Among NCAA Division I hitters, Andersen ranks as the 72nd toughest player to strike out, having averaged just one strikeout per 17.6 at-bats. Defensively, Andersen has started all 48 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 110 assists.

WURST MAINTAINS DOMINANT FORM IN THE CIRCLE: Though just 10-14-1 this season, two of lefthander Chloe Wurst's victories have come against ranked opposition and the sophomore enters Cal Poly's April 27-28 series at UC Riverside ranked second among conference performers in inning pitched (162.2), sixth in ERA (2.45) and strikeouts (101), seventh in victories and 10th in opposing batting average (.265). 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 seventh time this season versus No. 15 Hawai'i (April 19). 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 praise. In 32 appearances this season, Wurst features a 3.6-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is averaging 0.62 strikeouts per inning and, among NCAA Division I pitchers, ranks 22nd with just 1.20 walks allowed per seven innings.

CAL POLY'S TABLE SETTER: Batting from the leadoff spot in the lineup during 40 of 48 games this season, junior second baseman Ashley Romano has reached safely in 36 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 27-28 series at UC Riverside, Romano leads the Mustangs and ranks second among conference players in at-bats (157), fourth in plate appearances (180) and 11th in runs (26) and walks (17). Romano, who has struck out just 11 times this season and only three times during the previous 19 games, also ranks third in Cal Poly's lineup with 37 hits. Defensively, Romano has started all 48 games and sits ninth among Big West players with 90 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 27-28 series at UC Riverside ranked second among Mustangs with a .312 batting average and 44 hits. Westlund also ranks fifth among Big West players with 23 walks and 11th with a .406 on-base percentage. Currently seventh in program history with a career .301 (132-for-438) batting average, 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 28 times; reached safely in 37 contests and leads the Mustangs with 12 multi-hit games. Defensively, Westlund has started all 48 games this season, 142 of a possible 144 during her Cal Poly career and currently ranks second among Big West players with 114 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), a 2-1 loss against No. 9 Oregon (Feb. 23) and a 2-1 home defeat to No. 15 Hawai'i, 13 of Cal Poly's 29 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 45.8 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 again contested one of the most competitive schedules in Division I softball during the 2013 campaign. Overall, nine of Cal Poly's opening 18 games and 12 total contests during the 2013 season 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 29-MAY 5): Cal Poly will enjoy a scheduled bye week from Big West action before closing the regular season with a three-game May 10-11 series at UC Davis. The Aggies (19-23, 6-9) host Cal State Fullerton for a three-game April 27-28 set, welcome No. 17 Stanford on Wednesday May 1 and visit Long Beach State for a May 4-5 series before facing Cal Poly.

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 … Cal Poly's 2-1 win at Cal State Northridge (April 14) helped ninth-year head coach Jenny Condon became just the 10th individual in Big West history to earn 100 conference victories.