SAN LUIS OBISPO – Freshman left fielder Lily Amos belted her third career home run to hand the Cal Poly softball program the early lead Friday afternoon, but three Mustang fielding errors contributed to five of UC Santa Barbara's six runs as the Gauchos claimed a 6-5 win to open a doubleheader and three-game series at Bob Janssen Field. Cal Poly, however, recovered the win game No. 2, 5-3, after producing a season high 12 hits.
During Friday's opening matchup, Cal Poly starting junior righthander Steffi Best retired the Gauchos in order in the top of the first and the Mustangs produced the opening run in the bottom half as Amos swatted her third career homer over the center field wall with two down.
Held to a solitary hit during the second, Cal Poly extended its lead to 3-0 in the third as junior first baseman Hailey Martin lined a single down the left field line to plate sophomore second baseman Sarah Wulff (above) and senior third baseman Noa Yakir.
In the circle, Best retired 13 of the opening 15 UC Santa Barbara hitters faced. She didn't allow a runner into scoring position until the top half of the fifth, when Gauchos left fielder Sammy Fabian followed back-to-back UC Santa Barbara singles with a run-scoring single. Successive Mustang fielding errors during the next two Gaucho at-bats then allowed UC Santa Barbara to score twice more and tie the matchup, 3-3.
Two innings later, UC Santa Barbara notched the go-ahead and eventual winning runs as a third Mustang fielding error helped load the Gaucho bases. With two down, first baseman Devan Sperry laced a bases-clearing double down the left field line.
Cal Poly grabbed two runs back during the bottom half of the seventh as Amos doubled off the center field wall to plate Wulff before senior catcher Makenna Young deposited a two-out single to center to bring home freshman pinch runner Krystyna Allman. Gauchos reliever Felisha Noriega, however, forced a game-ending lineout from Cal Poly senior right fielder Crimson Kaiser.
Amos, Martin and Young each finished with two hits for Cal Poly in Friday's opener.
During Friday's second matchup, Cal Poly (11-39, 5-15) stranded two baserunners in scoring position to close the first before taking a 2-0 lead in the second. With two down and freshman shortstop Maddie Amos on second, sophomore center fielder Noellah Ramos lined a single that was mishandled by Fabian in left field. The miscue allowed Amos to score and Wulff followed with a run-scoring single to plate Ramos.
Cal Poly starting sophomore righthander Dakota Casper conceded solitary singles in each of the first two innings before UC Santa Barbara (9-42, 3-17) tied the matchup at the first opportunity as designated player Ally Nodohara brought home third baseman Kayla Krantz with a run-scoring single before catcher Thea Thies grounded out to plate Fabian.
The Mustangs, however, reclaimed their lead during the bottom half of the third with Young lacing a one-out single to left center that brought home Lily Amos for a 3-2 advantage. Maddie Amos then reaffirmed Cal Poly's two-run cushion with a single to center field that brought around Young.
Cal Poly extended the lead to 5-2 in the fifth as Kaiser followed Young's second double of the game with a run-scoring, two-bagger of her own.
Handed the lead a second time, Casper (3-9) allowed just one baserunner and no UC Santa Barbara hits between the fourth and sixth innings. UC Santa Barbara added its final run in the top of the seventh through a one-out Krantz single, but Allman recorded the final two outs on a double-play lineout and tossed just three pitches to earn her first career save.
Wulff led Cal Poly and matched a career high with three hits in the second game.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara complete the three-game series and the 2019 season with a 1 p.m. matchup on Saturday, May 11.