LONG BEACH – Senior shortstop Chelsea Convissar's two-run double gave the Cal Poly softball program the lead versus No. 17 Long Beach State, but the 49ers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to edge the Mustangs 3-2 in Saturday afternoon's series and doubleheader opener. Long Beach State also won game No. 2 at 49er Softball Complex, 1-0, after righthander Jessica Flores faced just two Mustangs over the minimum in a no-hitter.
During Saturday's opening decision, Chalmers (17-8) faced the minimum number of Long Beach State hitters through the opening two innings before second baseman Grayce Majam led off the bottom half of the third with a double. Chalmers then hit shortstop Nicole Fry with two down before right fielder Naomi Hernandez singled up the middle. Mustang senior center fielder Amanda Sandoval, however, threw out Majam at home plate to keep the game scoreless.
Offensively, Cal Poly (22-21, 6-8) saw its first six batters retired by Long Beach State starting righthander Cielo Meza before the Mustangs stranded runners at the corner bases in the third. Cal Poly, however, broke the stalemate in the top of the fifth. With one down, Meza hit senior second baseman Alejandra Garcia before Sandoval singled. Convissar (above, throwing) then lined a double to left center that plated freshman pinch runner Sarah Wulff and Sandoval for a 2-0 advantage.
Handed the lead, Chalmers allowed successive Long Beach State hits to open the bottom of the fifth and departed by allowing just a run-scoring, sacrifice fly to Fry that halved Cal Poly's lead. Chalmers then walked first baseman Taylor Rowland to begin the sixth before forcing a fly out from catcher Lauren MacLeod and inducing a double-play, ground ball from first baseman Julia Lombardi to close the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, Chalmers conceded a leadoff double to third baseman LT Torres before Majam tied the matchup with a run-scoring double to left center. Designated player Jessica Flores pushed Majam to third base with a sacrifice bunt before Fry ended the game with a single to left field.
Convissar and sophomore first baseman Hailey Martin co-led Cal Poly with two hits apiece in game No. 1.
During Saturday's second game, Cal Poly freshman starting righthander Dakota Casper (1-8) faced the minimum number of Long Beach State hitters through the first seven spots in the lineup before hitting starting righthander Jessica Flores (9-1) with one down in the bottom half of the third. Left fielder Jamie Wren then singled before Fry brought home Flores with a base hit to open up a 1-0 lead for the 49ers.
In the circle, Flores set down the first 11 Mustangs she faced before walking senior third baseman Stephanie Heyward with two down in the top of the fourth. Flores, however, forced a fly out from Martin to end any Cal Poly threat.
Flores retired Cal Poly in order once more in the fifth but, in the sixth, Garcia reached as the leadoff hitter following a fielding error by Fry at shortstop. Pinch running once more, Wulff was pushed to second by a Sandoval sacrifice bunt. Flores, however, retired the next two Mustang hitters to preserve Long Beach State's 1-0 lead.
Cal Poly threatened once more in the top of the seventh with Heyward drawing a leadoff walk. Flores, however, forced a Martin fly out before Cal Poly junior catcher Makenna Young hit into a double play to end the game.
Cal Poly and Long Beach State complete the three-game series with a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday, April 29.