CATHEDRAL CITY – The Cal Poly softball team twice tied the scoreline versus No. 5 Washington on Friday afternoon, but two runs from the Huskies in the top of the sixth inning broke the final deadlock as the Mustangs dropped a 4-2 decision to open their five-game stretch at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Cal Poly also dropped its second game Friday to Texas A&M, 4-2.
During Friday's opening matchup versus No. 5 Washington (9-1), Cal Poly (2-8) trailed the Huskies, 2-1, entering the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior left fielder Sydney James, however, led off with a single before moving to second through junior second baseman Alyssa McKiernan's sacrifice bunt. With sophomore Sarah Wulff on as a pinch runner, Huskies starter Pat Moore struck out senior third baseman Noa Yakir. Sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos (above) then delivered a two-out, run-scoring hit to tie the matchup.
Washington, however, regained its lead at the first opportunity. After the Huskies loaded the bases with one down, first baseman Kaija Gibson grounded out to score left fielder Madison Huskey for the eventual winning run. Center fielder Sami Reynolds then reached on a fielding error by Mustang first baseman Hailey Martin, a miscue that allowed second baseman Taryn Atlee to score for the 4-2 lead.
Cal Poly was then retired in order during the sixth and seventh to close the matchup.
Trailing Washington, 1-0, after the top of the first, Cal Poly equalized the scoreline during the bottom half as a two-out fielding error by Moore brought home Yakir. Washington then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth through Huskey's single that plated pinch runner Francesca Torraca.
With just two of Washington's four runs earned, junior righthander Steffi Best (0-5) suffered the loss for Cal Poly.
During Friday's second game versus Texas A&M (9-3), the Aggies notched the game's opening run in the bottom of the first through a sacrifice fly from designated player Haley Lee before center fielder Kelbi Fortenberry pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second with a two-out, two-run single up the middle. Texas A&M then added its fourth run in the third through a run-scoring double from starting lefthander Peyton McBride.
Held to four hits through the opening five innings by McBride (5-0), Cal Poly broke onto the scoreboard in the top half of the sixth. Senior catcher Makenna Young dealt the opening blow, swatting a leadoff home run. An Aggie error later in the inning allowed junior designated player Shelby Jeffries to score and halve Texas A&M's lead to 4-2.
Cal Poly, which stranded seven baserunners (including two to close the two-run sixth), was retired in order in the top of the seventh.
Sophomore righthander Dakota Casper (0-1) took the loss for Cal Poly after allowing Texas A&M's opening three runs.
Cal Poly continues Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic play on Saturday, Feb. 23 versus Colorado State at 11:30 a.m.