Cal State Fullerton catcher Julia Valenzuela’s bases-clearing triple with two down in the top of the sixth inning was the decisive blow as the Cal Poly softball program began its Saturday doubleheader versus the Titans and a three-game series with a 3-0 loss inside Bob Janssen Field. Cal Poly also fell in game No. 2, 4-0.
During Saturday’s opening game – in which Mustang senior third baseman Stephanie Heyward made her 200th straight start – Cal Poly senior starting righthander Chalmers (18-9) allowed just two Cal State Fullerton hits through the opening three innings. In the fourth though, Chalmers hit center fielder Ari Williams to lead off the inning before designated player Deshea Hill singled. Chalmers, however, struck out third baseman Bryanna Ybarra before earning a ground out and fly out from the next two Titans to strand two in scoring position and keep the matchup a scoreless stalemate.
Chalmers stranded two more Titan baserunners in the top of the fifth before Cal State Fullerton broke the game open through Valenzuela’s bases-clearing triple that placed her side up 3-0.
Offensively, Cal Poly (23-23, 7-10) saw its first eight hitters retired before senior center fielder Amanda Sandoval singled with two down in the third. The Mustangs also received a fifth-inning base hit from junior right fielder Crimson Kaiser, but failed to advance a runner into scoring position against Cal State Fullerton starting righthander Sophie Frost (14-6).
During Saturday’s second matchup, Big West Conference leading Cal State Fullerton (31-21, 16-1) grabbed the game’s only lead with a two-run second inning. With one down and two Titans in scoring position, second baseman Sam Kennedy laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored third baseman Bryanna Ybarra. Heyward came to cover the bunt from third base, but her toss to Mustang catcher Makenna Young sailed wide and brought first baseman Zoe Richard home from second.
Cal State Fullerton then added a run in the fifth as Williams scored Valenzuela with a two-out single before completing the scoring in the sixth as pinch hitter Mikaela Francis produced a sacrifice fly that plated Ybarra.
Cal Poly, meanwhile, was held hitless by Cal State Fullerton starting righthander Trish Parks (8-2) until Heyward singled with one down in the fourth. The Mustangs produced two more hits in the matchup, but no runners reached scoring position.
With two hits in game No. 2, Heyward – one of only four players in Cal Poly’s Division I history to record 200-plus hits – matched Roni Sparrey (2001-04) for third place all-time with 203 career hits.
Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton close the three-game series with a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday, May 6.
-Provided by Cal Poly