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Cal Poly Rallies for Opening-Game Win in Saturday Split

Cal Poly Rallies for Opening-Game Win in Saturday Split

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Trailing Long Beach State, 1-0, with two down in the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Cal Poly softball program scored four times to open a three-game series and Saturday doubleheader versus the 49ers with a 4-1 victory at Bob Janssen Field. Cal Poly, however, dropped game No. 2, 11-0, after being held to three hits.

During Saturday's opening matchup, Cal Poly starting junior righthander Steffi Best stranded two Long Beach State baserunners to close the top of the first before the 49ers notched the game's opening run in the second as shortstop Nichole Fry singled home first baseman Taylor Rowland with two down.

Following Long Beach State's lone run, Best allowed just four 49ers baserunners into scoring position the remainder of the game and only one as far as third.

Offensively, Cal Poly was limited to one hit by Long Beach State starting righthander Ashley Coleman until the third, when the Mustangs utilized a single, fielder's choice and a full-count walk to load the bases with two outs. Coleman, however, forced Mustang junior first baseman Hailey Martin into a ground out to end any threat. The Mustangs stranded two more to cap the fourth before freshman designated player Lily Amos grounded into a double play to complete the fifth.

Cal Poly, however, notched the decisive runs in the sixth with a leadoff double from Martin (above) kickstarting the comeback. Senior right fielder Crimson Kaiser moved sophomore pinch runner Jackie Napoli to third with a sacrifice bunt and the Mustangs subsequently loaded the bases as senior catcher Makenna Young drew a full-count walk before Coleman hit senior pinch hitter Kirra Loucks. Coleman followed that sequence with a wild pitch that brought home Napoli for the tying run. Two batters later, sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos brought home Young with a fielder's choice before Yakir added a two-run single to complete the scoring.

The victory marked just Cal Poly's second this season in 27 attempts when trailing after the fifth inning.

During Saturday's second matchup, Long Beach State (20-23, 7-7) notched the eventual winning run in the top of the first with designated player Lauren Lombardi singling to score first baseman Taylor Rowland with two down.

The 49ers then went up 2-0 in the second through a one-out, run-scoring single from catcher Jacey Bourgeois to plate center fielder Maddy Ruffin.

Offensively, Cal Poly (10-34, 4-10) received a single from Ramos to lead off the bottom of the first. Long Beach State starting righthander Kellie White, however, retired 10 of the ensuing 11 Mustang hitters to keep Cal Poly scoreless. Martin doubled with one down in the fourth, but White set down the next eight hitters faced.

Long Beach State added five additional runs in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run double from Lombardi, before notching the final four in the seventh.

Cal Poly and Long Beach State complete the three-game series with a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday, April 28.