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February 19, 2014

Mustangs Contest Six Games in Four Days at Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Prior to a bye weekend and the program's home-opening Mustang Classic, the Cal Poly softball team visits the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif., for the Feb. 20-23 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Cal Poly's six-game, four-day stay opens on Thursday, Feb. 20 with the Mustangs (4-6) squaring off against No. 25 Texas (6-6) at 1 p.m. and Fordham (5-3) at 8 p.m. Action continues on Friday, Feb. 21 versus Syracuse (2-3) at 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 22 against Maryland (1-9) at 7:30 p.m. Cal Poly closes tournament play with an 11:30 a.m. doubleheader versus New Mexico (1-8) and UNLV (2-7). Cal Poly has competed in a Cathedral City-based tournament in each of previous eight seasons, chalking up a combined 15-24-1 mark

HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG SOFTBALL THIS WEEK: Live stats will only be available for Cal Poly's Friday, Feb. 20 matchup versus Fordham and Sunday, Feb. 23 game against UNLV through GoPoly.com HERE.

CAL POLY VERSUS MARY NUTTER COLLEGIATE CLASSIC OPPONENTS: The Mustangs have faced four of their upcoming six opponents just once in program history with Cal Poly falling to Texas on Feb. 25, 2011 (9-0) and Maryland on Feb. 24, 2006 (1-0) in the only previous matchups. Cal Poly, however, has won its prior meetings against Fordham and Syracuse, topping the Rams on Feb. 17, 2001 (8-0) and the Orange on March 6, 2004 (1-0). The Mustangs have prevailed in all three previous matchups against New Mexico, last topping the Lobos 3-0 on Feb. 8, 2013. UNLV holds an 8-3 series advantage against Cal Poly with the Rebels having won the previous four contests.

MORENO LEADS BY EXAMPLE: Cal Poly's leadoff hitter in every game this season, senior center fielder Lauren Moreno enters the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic hitting .333 and ranked third among Big West Conference players in runs (nine), fourth in homers (four) and seventh in total bases (21). Moreno, who has twice led off a game this year with a homer, is batting .647 (11-for-17) in leadoff situations. Moreno, who hit safely in Cal Poly's opening five contests, co-leads the Mustangs in multi-hit (four) and multi-RBI games (two) and has struck out just twice in 41 plate appearances.

HYLAND MAKES DEBUT: Freshman righthander Sierra Hyland made her Mustang debut at the Feb. 13-15 Stanford Nike Invitational and, in four appearances, chalked up a 2.66 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 23.2 innings of work. Hyland's standout performance of her opening weekend was a complete-game, one-hit shutout of Bradley (Feb. 16). Hyland, who has twice struck out six players in a game, enters play this week ranked second among Big West hitters in opposing batting average (.218), fifth in ERA and eighth in strikeouts

MUSTANGS GO WEST: The only Cal Poly player to reach safely in all of her appearances this season, sophomore first baseman Breana West enters the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic second among Mustangs with a .385 batting average and ranked sixth among Big West hitters in on-base percentage (.500). West also owns Cal Poly's lengthiest hitting streak of the year, a seven-game effort to open the season.

CAL POLY POWERS UP: As a team, Cal Poly hit just nine home runs last season, but, between Lauren Moreno, senior catcher Mariah Cochiolo (two), senior designated player Shea Williams (one) and Breana West (one), Cal Poly has already sent seven pitches over the fence this year.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2014: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Jenny Condon's 10-year tenure, Cal Poly will again contest one of the more competitive schedules in Division I during the 2014 campaign. In total, four of Cal Poly's opening 11 games will occur against programs ranked or receiving votes in the preseason edition of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll (ranking from date of game).

LOOKING AHEAD (MARCH 3-9): Cal Poly is idle the week of Feb. 24-March 2 before hosting the eighth-annual Mustang Classic at Bob Janssen Field from March 7-9. Below is the complete schedule for the Mustang Classic, which serves as Cal Poly's home-opening event.

2014 Mustang Classic
Friday, March 7
Santa Clara vs. Sacramento State, 9 a.m.
Sacramento State vs. Stony Brook, 11:30 a.m.
Stony Brook at Cal Poly, 2 p.m.
Fairleigh Dickinson at Cal Poly, 4:30 p.m.
Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Santa Clara, 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 8
Santa Clara vs. Stony Brook, 9 a.m.
Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 a.m.
Stony Brook at Cal Poly, 2 p.m.
Sacramento State at Cal Poly, 4:30 p.m.
Sacramento State vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 9
Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Stony Brook, 9 a.m.
Santa Clara at Cal Poly, 11:30 a.m.
Sacramento State at Cal Poly, 2 p.m.

ETC.: Cal Poly's 6-4 win against No. 8 Oregon (Feb. 7) counted as the highest ranked team the Mustangs had defeated since besting No. 2 Texas A&M in their 2008 season-opening contest.