Cal Poly Splits Big West Opening Day at UC Riverside
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Sophomore catcher Stephanie Correia pounded her first two home runs of 2011 during the opening game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader versus UC Riverside as the Cal Poly softball program began Big West Conference play with a 7-1 triumph at Amy S. Harrison Field. Despite receiving senior designated player Anna Cahn's second homer in as many games during the nightcap, however, the Mustangs suffered a 4-3 setback during game No. 2.
Sophomore righthander Rebecca Patton earned the opening-game victory after walking just one batter for Cal Poly (5-23, 1-1), which has still won 16 of its last 19 matchups versus UC Riverside (8-17, 1-1). Cal Poly, 18-5 on the road against Big West opposition since 2009, seeks its seventh-successive conference road series victory when completing the three-game set versus UC Riverside on Sunday, April 3 at 12 noon.
Cal Poly, which won its Big West opener for the first time since 2008, grabbed the lead during game No. 1 before the Highlanders had the chance to bat. Mustang freshman shortstop Kim Westlund and Cahn drew one-out walks each side of junior right fielder Nicole Lund's infield single. Correia popped out, but freshman left fielder Jillian Andersen transformed a full count into a bases-loaded walk to force home Westlund for a 1-0 advantage.
Cahn doubled Cal Poly's advantage in the third by rocketing a solo homer over the right center field fence. Five pitches later, Correia scythed her first homer of the year to left center field. Andersen followed Cal Poly's power surge by drawing a walk before eventually scoring on freshman first baseman Mariah Cochiolo's sacrifice fly that provided the Mustangs a 4-0 lead.
Junior center fielder Nora Sobczak led off Cal Poly's half of the fourth with a walk and, with two Mustangs down, Cahn drew a second pass to set the stage for Correia's second homer – a three-run shot to left field that provided the Mustangs a 7-0 cushion.
Emboldened with the lead, Patton (3-12) retired seven-straight Highlanders between the second and fourth innings. The lone blemish on Patton's performance came during the fifth, with Highlanders first baseman Jessica Vasser and left fielder Alexis Villamor each landing doubles to account for UC Riverside's lone run.
Patton, however, retired the final seven UC Riverside hitters she saw to produce her second win in as many weekends.
Cal Poly also maximized the first inning of Saturday's second game with Sobczak and Westlund opening the contest with consecutive base hits. After Lund reached base through a fielder's choice, Cahn collected a pair of RBI by chopping a single up the middle.
UC Riverside answered with a run during the bottom half of the first as third baseman Brittany Keeney produced a two-out single through the right side of the infield to plate center fielder Kayla White.
UC Riverside needed just another inning to take the lead for certain with Villamor and White supplying one-out run-scoring hits to hand the hosts a 3-2 advantage. The Highlanders added their fourth run during the third through shortstop Kameryn Hebenton's sacrifice fly.
Cal Poly's brief response came during the top of the fourth, as Cahn cut the Mustang deficit to 4-3 by swatting her Big West-leading 10th homer of the season.
Cal Poly, however, mustered just one additional hit as Cahn opened the top of the sixth by smacking a single off the base of the left center field fence. The Mustangs also advanced just one additional baserunner into scoring position as Cal Poly fell to 1-9 this season in games decided by two runs or fewer.