HONOLULU, O'ahu – Cal Poly softball starting freshman righthander Dakota Casper held Hawai'i to just one hit through six and two-thirds innings during the second game of a Saturday doubleheader before conceding a walk, base hit and the eventual game-winning home run as the Mustangs closed a three-game series with a 3-2 loss. The Mustangs also dropped Saturday's opener in five innings, 11-0, after Hawai'i hit four home runs inside Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
During Saturday's second game, Cal Poly (17-18, 1-5) took the lead in the top of the first inning after freshman left fielder Noellah Ramos and senior third baseman Stephanie Heyward strung together successive one-out hits before sophomore first baseman Hailey Martin (above) delivered a two-run double down the right field line.
Casper (1-6) retired Hawai'i (19-16, 3-3) in order on just five pitches in the bottom of the first and just 10 in the second. Perfect through the first 10 Hawai'i batters, Casper conceded her first hit when Ramos – charging and diving forward to make a catch on a line drive from Rainbow Wahine left fielder Britnee Rossi – saw the ball pop out of her mitt. Casper nonetheless retired the next two Hawai'i hitters to face just one over the minimum through four.
Casper then retired the next eight Rainbow Wahine hitters. With two down in the bottom of the seventh, however, she walked catcher Callee Heen before shortstop Angelique Ramos singled into left field. Hawai'i first baseman Rachael Turner then homered to right field for the game-winning blow.
Despite the loss, Casper allowed a career low three hits. The seventh-inning walk was the only one she issued while throwing 72 percent of her 72 pitches for strikes.
Martin and sophomore designated player Shelby Jeffries led Cal Poly with two hits apiece.
During Saturday's opening game, the Mustangs were retired in order during the top of the first and Hawai'i snatched a 7-0 lead during the bottom half of the inning. Third baseman Nicole Lopez hit a three-run homer and designated player Callee Heen followed with a solo shot before Cal Poly had recorded an out. Catcher Heather Cameron then added a sacrifice fly before second baseman Alyssa Sojka completed the seven-run first with a two-out, two-run homer to left field.
Cal Poly returned in the top of the second to strand runners at the corner bases after junior right fielder Crimson Kaiser hit a leadoff double and senior second baseman Alejandra Garcia produced a two-out single. Lopez, however, hit another homer in the second – this time a two-run shot to center field – to run Hawai'i's lead to 9-0.
The Mustangs stranded two more baserunners (of six during the game) in the top half of the third before Hawai'i tacked on two more runs in the bottom half to push the lead to 11-0.
Senior righthander Lindsey Chalmers (12-7) took the loss for Cal Poly after allowing Hawai'i's first two homers.
Saturday's opening-game loss marked Cal Poly's first run-rule, Big West defeat since an 8-0, five-inning loss at UC Riverside on April 27, 2013.
Cal Poly opens its lengthiest home stand of 2018 – six straight games – when hosting UC Davis for a three-game, April 14-15 series at Bob Janssen Field. The series begins with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, April 14.