SAN DIEGO – Senior right fielder Crimson Kaiser and sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos (above) each produced a team high two hits, but five errors undid the Cal Poly softball program Saturday morning as the Mustangs fell to Portland State in their 2019 season opener at the USD Tournament, 6-4. Cal Poly was also edged in game No. 2 of its doubleheader in nine innings by Marshall, 6-5.
During Saturday's season-opening matchup versus Portland State (1-2), Cal Poly starting righthander Steffi Best (0-1) walked Vikings center fielder Marissa Bruno to lead off the game and, two Mustang errors later, Bruno crossed the plate for the game's opening run. A sacrifice fly from designated player Rachel Menlove later in the inning brought home right fielder Jessica Flanagan to hand Portland State the 2-0 advantage.
Cal Poly immediately cut into Portland State's lead in the bottom half of the inning as Ramos led off her season with a double, reached second through a passed ball and third base on a wild pitch by Vikings starting righthander Serafine Parrish (1-0). Ramos then scored on another Parrish wild pitch.
The Vikings, however, added single runs in the top of the second and third to increase their lead to 4-1. Cal Poly managed to close the deficit to 4-3 after senior third baseman Noa Yakir and freshman designated player Lily Amos contributed run-scoring doubles in the third and fourth innings, respectively.
Portland State moved ahead 5-3 in the fifth through a run-scoring single by catcher Alexxis Ponce and Cal Poly once more drew within a run of the Vikings in the bottom half of the fifth as Ramos scored on yet another wild pitch – this time from reliever Katie Schroeder.
That was as close as Cal Poly edged, however. Portland State notched the game's final run in the top of the sixth and the Mustangs stranded Kaiser on third base with two down in the bottom half of the inning. Cal Poly was then retired in order during the seventh to close the game.
During Saturday's second matchup against Marshall (3-0), the Thundering Herd grabbed the game's only lead in the top of the second inning as catcher Hayden Ellis scored left fielder Rachel Rousseau with a one-out sacrifice fly.
Marshall then increased its lead to 4-0 in the fourth. Cal Poly starting righthander Dakota Casper hit third baseman Blakely Burch to open the inning before shortstop Sierra Huerta singled and Ellis drew a walk to load the bases for pinch hitter Briana Daiss, who produced a run-scoring single to center field. Second baseman Armani Brown then produced a sacrifice fly and, two batters later, first baseman Aly Harrell singled to score Ellis and complete the three-run inning.
Held to one hit during the opening five innings by Marshall starting righthander Abigail Tolbert, Cal Poly struck for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior catcher Makenna Young and junior first baseman Hailey Martin began the rally with successive singles before Kaiser reached on a Marshall fielding error. The miscue allowed Young to score Cal Poly's opening run and, three batters later, freshman shortstop Maddie Amos delivered a two-run single to trim the Mustang deficit to 4-3.
Cal Poly then sent Saturday's game to extra innings with two down in the bottom of the seventh as Lily Amos drove an RBI single into center field to score Ramos. On the game-tying sequence, freshman pinch runner Krystyna Allman was thrown out at home plate attempting to score Cal Poly's winning run.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect to begin the eighth, both teams pushed across a single run. In the top of the ninth, however, a Cal Poly fielding error let Marshall notch the eventual winning run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cal Poly stranded Mustangs at the corner bases to close the game.
Martin collected two of Cal Poly's eight hits versus Marshall.
Cal Poly (0-2) completes USD Tournament play on Sunday, Feb. 10 against Portland State (11:30 a.m.) and the host Toreros (2 p.m.).