TEMPE, Ariz. – Junior center fielder Lauren Moreno marked her first game in a Cal Poly uniform with a walk-off home run on Friday morning as the Cal Poly softball program opened both the 2013 season and the Arizona State-hosted Kajikawa Classic with a 3-2, come-from-behind victory against New Mexico at the Tempe Sports Complex. The Mustangs, however, failed to finish off a potential sweep, dropping a 3-2, eight-inning decision against Western Michigan during the afternoon session.
During Friday's season opener against the Lobos (0-3), Cal Poly (1-1) fell behind in the third inning after New Mexico senior third baseman Kaity Ingram singled home senior right fielder Cassandra Kalapsa with two outs.
Held hitless during the opening four innings, Cal Poly responded in the fifth with junior second baseman Ashley Romano reaching to lead off following an error from Lobo second baseman Chelsea Anaya. Junior shortstop Kim Westlund, a 2012 All-Big West Conference second team selection, then drew a walk before New Mexico starting righthander Lisa Rodrigues hit freshman first baseman Breana West to load the bases. Rodrigues recovered to strike out sophomore Emily Ceccacci, but designated player Celina Lafrades singled into right field to plate Romano and Westlund and hand Cal Poly a 2-1 lead.
After New Mexico squared the scoreline at 2-2 through freshman center fielder Mariah Rimmer's two-out run-scoring double, Moreno – an offseason transfer from Mt. San Antonio College – led off the bottom half of the seventh with her first hit as a Mustang.
In the circle, sophomore righthander Jordan Yates (1-0) struck out four Lobos and scattered six hits to earn the victory.
During Friday's second game against Western Michigan (1-0), Cal Poly grabbed a 1-0 lead during the top of the first as West doubled into right field to score Westlund. The Mustangs doubled their advantage an inning later with Romano lacing a base hit into left field to score senior catcher Shea Williams.
Western Michigan climbed back into the game during the third as sophomore second baseman Jenny Rohn scored on a wild pitch unfurled by Mustang freshman lefthander Nicole Innamorato. A one-out homer from Broncos junior third baseman Christina Pigozzi then tied the matchup in the fourth and chased Innamorato from the circle.
The Mustangs produced just one more hit the remainder of the game, but, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, managed to load the bases with two outs in the top of the eighth. Romano, however, flew out to end any threat.
Western Michigan freshman shortstop Sabrina Gamboa led off the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice bunt that advanced Pigozzi – on as the tiebreaker runner – to third base. Sophomore Mackenzie Shepeck then singled through the right side of the infield to produce the winning run.
Yates suffered the loss against Western Michigan after working four innings of relief.
Cal Poly continues Kajikawa Classic action on Saturday versus No. 13 Arizona at 8 a.m. PT and No. 21 Stanford at 10:30 a.m.