H-SPORTS

Mar 30, 2013 1:40 AM by Andrew Masuda

Cochiolo delivers game-winning hit, Mustangs sweep Fullerton

Junior shortstop Kim Westlund's run-scoring single during the opening game of a Friday doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton provided the Cal Poly softball team a 1-0 victory while junior catcher Mariah Cochiolo's two-run single in the nightcap accounted for the winning margin in a 3-2 triumph as the Mustangs produced a pair of two-out, fifth-inning rallies to sweep the Titans at Anderson Family Field.

The opening-game victory marked Cal Poly's first Big West Conference road triumph since topping UC Davis 6-2 on May 8, 2011. The pair of Friday victories also helped the Mustangs earn their first conference road series win since taking two of three games during the same series at UC Davis.

During Friday's opening contest, neither program advanced a baserunner past second until Cal Poly grabbed the winning run during the top of the fifth inning. Junior second baseman Ashley Romano kickstarted the two-out rally by blooping a double down the right field line. Junior third baseman Jillian Andersen followed by drawing a four-pitch walk before Westlund singled up the middle to score a sliding Romano from second.

Staked to the lead, sophomore lefthander Chloe Wurst (above) - after allowing just three Titan hits during the opening five innings - failed to yield a hit in the fifth or sixth. Cal State Fullerton mounted one final challenge during the bottom of the seventh, however, as third baseman Eliza Crawford singled with one out before pinch runner Jenna Rubio stole two bases during the next at-bat. With two down, Wurst forced Titan right fielder Tiffany Sheffler to pop out to end the game.

Wurst, who allowed just two Titan baserunners into scoring position all game, walked one hitter to improve to 7-8-1.

During Friday's second game, Cal State Fullerton grabbed an immediate 2-0 lead during the bottom of the first as Crawford swatted a two-run homer over the center field fence that also plated catcher Ariel Tsuchiyama.

The Mustangs returned during the ensuing half inning to halve the Titan lead. With one down, junior left fielder Lauren Moreno lined a ball that bounced in front of and past Sheffler in right field. Moreno sprinted to third on the sequence and, two batters later, scored through senior center fielder Whitley Gerhart's single to left field.

After stranding the bases loaded during the third, Cal Poly saw a leadoff single in the fourth from freshman first baseman Breana West erased after Gerhart lined into a double play.

The Mustangs, however, once again compiled the decisive margin during the fifth. After leading off the inning with a single, Romano reached second through an Andersen sacrifice. Westlund followed with a walk before both Mustangs moved into scoring position following a wild pitch from Titan starting righthander Desiree Ybarra (5-7). A Moreno fielder's choice on a ball slapped to Titan shortstop Samantha Galarza cut Romano down at home plate. With two down, however, junior catcher Mariah Cochiolo singled to score both Westlund and sophomore designated player Celina Lafrades and hand the Mustangs their 3-2 lead.

After taking over for Mustang starting lefthander Nicole Innamorato with two down in the second, sophomore righthander Jordan Yates (4-9) scattered four hits and failed to allow a Titan baserunner past second.

The Mustangs (14-20-1, 3-2) and Titans (15-19, 2-3) conclude their three-game set with a 12 noon contest on Saturday, March 30.

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