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April 17, 2011

Walk-Off Homer Sends Mustangs to 11-8 Defeat

FULLERTON, Calif. – Junior right fielder Nicole Lund's three-run homer handed the Cal Poly softball program a brief lead on Sunday afternoon, but Cal State Fullerton third baseman Nicole Johnson's three-run homer with two outs during the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Titans an 11-8 victory against the Mustangs at Anderson Family Field.

Cal State Fullerton starting righthander Ari Cervantes (12-10) retired the Mustangs in order to begin the matchup and the Titans responded offensively by loading the bases versus Mustang starting righthander Rebecca Patton during the bottom half of the first. With two outs, designated player Tish Dedeaux and Cervantes produced consecutive run-scoring singles to hand the Titans an early 2-0 lead.

Cal Poly's riposte was swift as a two-out single by freshman second baseman Ashley Romano during the top of the second scored both freshman first baseman Mariah Cochiolo and Patton. A fielding error by Cervantes on a grounder slapped by junior center fielder Nora Sobczak then scored freshman left fielder Jillian Andersen to provide Cal Poly's a 3-2 lead – its first advantage during the three game series.

Cal State Fullerton quickly replied during the bottom half of the second with left fielder Ashley Carter tripling down the right field line to score shortstop Adriana Martinez and knot the score at 3-3. A fielding error by Mustang freshman shortstop Kim Westlund on a ball pounded by first baseman K.C. Craddick then plated Carter before a single up the middle by center fielder Torrie Anderson allowed Cal State Fullerton to reclaim its lead at 5-3 after just two innings.

The third marked one of only two innings where neither team scored before Cal Poly grabbed a 6-5 lead during its half of the fourth. After Sobczak reached on a fielder's choice, Westlund singled with two outs to set the stage for Lund, who snapped a 26-game homerless drought by slicing a three-run shot over the left field fence.

With one down during the bottom half of the fourth, however, senior lefthander Anna Cahn – on in relief of Patton – intentionally walked Anderson to load the bases with one out. Dedeaux responded by singling through the left side of the infield to score Carter and deadlock the game at 6-6.

Cal Poly placed two Mustangs on the bases during the fifth before reaffirming their lead in the sixth. With one out and Lund (above) at first, Cahn laced a run-scoring double into the left field gap. Two batters later, Patton singled off of third base to score Cahn and further Cal Poly's advantage to 8-6.

For the third time on Sunday, however, the Mustangs failed to make their lead last. After Johnson scored with one out in the sixth following another fielding error by Westlund, Cahn unfurled a two-out wild pitch that allowed Anderson to score and re-knot the game at 8-8.

Romano doubled with one out during the top of the seventh, but Cal Poly was unable to push a run across versus Cervantes.

A season-high five Mustangs finished with multiple hits.

Cal Poly (6-29, 2-7) opens a three-game home series versus Long Beach State with a 12 noon doubleheader on Friday, April 22.