STOCKTON, Calif. – The Cal Poly softball program held early leads during both ends of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at Bill Simoni Field, but a two-run homer from Pacific shortstop Nicole Matson during the opening game and a solo shot from third baseman Megan Allen during the nightcap counted as the decisive blows as the Mustangs were swept by the Tigers, 2-1 and 3-2.
During Saturday's opening contest, Cal Poly (12-30, 4-10) was held hitless until freshman designated player Emily Ceccacci led off the third inning with a bloop single down the right field line. Sophomore second baseman Jillian Andersen (above) followed by slicing a single into short left center and, two batters later, sophomore shortstop Kim Westlund handed the Mustangs a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring groundout that plated Ceccacci.
Mustang starting lefthander Chloe Wurst (4-13) allowed just two Pacific hits until Tigers starting righthander Nikki Armagost (10-6) singled with one out during the fourth. Matson then delivered the game-winning blow for Pacific by belting her team-leading 13th homer of 2012 to right field.
Cal Poly threatened Armagost once more with senior left fielder Nora Sobczak lacing a single up the middle to lead off the sixth. Armagost, however, retired the next three Cal Poly hitters she faced and then the Mustangs in order during the seventh to end the game.
Wurst failed to allow a walk in suffering the loss.
The Mustangs returned during game No. 2 and attacked Pacific immediately as junior center fielder Whitley Gerhart followed Westlund's leadoff single with a run-scoring double into the right center field gap. Two batters later, freshman third baseman Celina Lafrades doubled Cal Poly's lead by singling up the middle to score Gerhart.
However, Pacific (31-16, 10-4) – which retained a share of first place atop the Big West Conference standings with Saturday's victories – swiftly returned to take control of the matchup. Matson and right fielder Taylor Petty each delivered run-scoring hits during the bottom of the first to deadlock the scoreline before Allen – the No. 9 hitter in Pacific's lineup – socked her first homer of the season during the second to hand the Tigers a 3-2 advantage.
Cal Poly returned during the fourth to threaten Pacific starting righthander Dani Bonnet (10-6) with sophomore first baseman Madi Vogelsang and Andersen singling to place two Mustangs on the bathpaths with one out. Bonnet, however, induced a grounder from junior pinch hitter Shea Williams that erased sophomore pinch runner Ashley Romano at third base. Westlund, hitting next, grounded out to end Cal Poly's half of the fourth.
The Mustangs received a two-out double from sophomore catcher Mariah Cochiolo during the fifth, but saved their final attempt against Bonnet until the seventh. A fielding error from Pacific second baseman Alexa Rivera allowed Westlund to reach from the leadoff spot. After Sobczak's second sacrifice bunt of the game advanced Westlund into scoring position, however, Bonnet struck out both Gerhart and Cochiolo to finalize Pacific's sweep.
Mustang freshman righthander Jordan Yates (3-11) walked just two Tigers in taking the loss.
Cal Poly and Pacific complete the three-game set with a 12 noon contest on Sunday, April 29.