FULLERTON – Junior starting righthander Steffi Best allowed just one earned run, but a bases-loaded single from Cal State Fullerton designated player Zoe Richard with two outs in the bottom of the seventh undid the Cal Poly softball program on Sunday afternoon as the Mustangs closed a three-game series at Anderson Family Field with a 2-1 defeat.
Held without a hit by Cal State Fullerton starting righthander Taylor Dockins (5-5) through the opening two and one-third innings, Cal Poly loaded the bases in the third through a single from junior shortstop Alyssa McKiernan, a fielder's choice by sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos and a full-count walk drawn by sophomore second baseman Sarah Wulff. Senior third baseman Noa Yakir then produced an infield grounder that brought home McKiernan to hand Cal Poly a 1-0 lead.
Staked to the early lead for the second successive afternoon, Best stranded one Titan baserunner to close the third before Cal State Fullerton equalized in the bottom half of the fourth through a one-out sacrifice fly from shortstop Sam Kennedy.
Best eventually closed the fourth by stranding the Titan bases loaded before retiring Cal State Fullerton in order to complete the fifth.
Deadlock preserved, Cal Poly loaded the bases with one down in the top of the sixth. Dockins, however, induced a lineout from junior first baseman Hailey Martin before striking out junior designated player Shelby Jeffries. In the seventh, sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos singled with two down, but Wulff flew out to strand Cal Poly's sixth baserunner of the day.
Into the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff fielding error from Wulff allowed Titans catcher Julia Valenzuela to reach. Two spots later, Best walked second baseman Alexa Neal before Titans center fielder Ari Williams singled. Best forced a fly out from third base baseman Deshea Hill but, with two down, Richard singled up the middle to hand Cal State Fullerton its second 2-1 victory versus Cal Poly in as many afternoons.
Cal Poly closes the 2019 season when hosting UC Santa Barbara for a three-game, May 10-11 series. The series gets underway with a 3 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, May 10.
Photo courtesy of Shea Hammond