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Mustang Softball Hits UC Santa Barbara for Central Coast Rivalry Series

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Mustang softball program wraps the road portion of its 2012 schedule and finalizes a six-game swing when visiting central coast rival UC Santa Barbara for a three-game May 5-6 set at Campus Diamond. The Blue-Green Rivalry series gets underway with a 12 noon doubleheader on Saturday, May 5 before closing with a 12 noon matchup the ensuing Sunday. Cal Poly (12-31, 4-11) enters Saturday's doubleheader looking to snap both a four-game slide and win its first road series against a Big West Conference opponent since last season. The Gauchos (24-28, 9-6), who tumbled out of first place atop the Big West standings after dropping both ends of an April 28 doubleheader at UC Davis, enter the series against Cal Poly trailing current conference leaders Pacific (32-16, 11-4) and Long Beach State (23-22, 11-4) by two games with six contests remaining.

HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG SOFTBALL THIS WEEK: Live stats from all three series games at UC Santa Barbara will be available HERE.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: Including a three-game sweep during the 2010 season, Cal Poly has produced series victories during three of its last four visits to UC Santa Barbara's Campus Diamond. Despite being swept at home by the Gauchos last season, Cal Poly still leads the all-time central coast series versus UC Santa Barbara, 34-24.

WESTLUND REMAINS CAL POLY'S CATALYST: Sophomore shortstop Kim Westlund, installed as Cal Poly's leadoff hitter for the previous nine games, enters Saturday's doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara leading the Mustangs in batting average (.326), slugging percentage (.450), on-base percentage (.395), hits (42), RBI (23) and total bases (58). Westlund has also reached base safely during 12 of Cal Poly's last 13 outings and hit safely through 13 of the previous 17 contests. In total, Westlund – also first among Mustangs with 10 multi-hit games and five multi-RBI games – has reached base successfully during 37 of 43 contests this season and hit safely 31 times. A consistent threat in the Cal Poly lineup since batting safely during her first 11 collegiate games last season, Westlund has started 87 of a possible 90 contests during her Mustang career.

GERHART STAYS IN THE ZONE: Cal Poly's most productive hitter down the stretch behind Kim Westlund, junior center fielder Whitley Gerhart takes a .310 batting average in 15 Big West appearances into Saturday's doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara. Gerhart, without a multi-hit game during her initial 108 appearances as a Mustang, has collected three such outings this season. Also without a collegiate home run during her opening 102 games, Gerhart has socked three long balls through Cal Poly's previous 21 contests. Defensively, Gerhart is a .978 career fielder.

VOGELSANG'S SOPHOMORIC SUCCESS: Sophomore first baseman Madi Vogelsang opened the 2012 campaign without a collegiate hit, but enters Saturday's doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara ranked eighth among Big West players with eight doubles and first among Mustangs with four homers and 12 extra-base hits. She also ranks second on Cal Poly's roster with 47 total bases. Vogelsang had produced just two hits (neither for extra bases) during Cal Poly's opening six games this season before belting a pair of homers versus then-No. 22 Nebraska (Feb. 25) to help drive the Mustangs to a 14-7 triumph. She added her third homer of the season during an 8-2 victory against Nevada (March 4) before swatting a fourth in a 3-1 home triumph versus Cal State Northridge (April 15). After making just three starts at first base as a freshman in 2011, Vogelsang has started all 43 games this season. Her .993 fielding percentage with just two errors in 282 chances this season ranks as the fourth-highest figure among Big West players.

MUSTANGS FLEX MUSCLES: Junior Whitley Gerhart and sophomores Mariah Cochiolo and Madi Vogelsang collectively entered the 2012 campaign without a collegiate homer, but the trio has provided 83 percent of Cal Poly's long balls this season. Cochiolo was the catalyst behind Cal Poly's latest long ball effort with her April 29 solo shot at Pacific keeping the Mustangs in contention during the series finale against the Big West-leading Tigers. Vogelsang owns Cal Poly's only multi-homer game of 2012 as her pair against then-No. 22 Nebraska on Feb. 25 lifted the Mustangs to a 14-7 triumph. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 6-4 when homering this season, but just 2-19 when the opponent hits a home run.

CAL POLY FIELDING A TURNAROUND: A year after committing the second most errors (71) among Big West programs and ranking second from bottom in fielding percentage (.953), Cal Poly enters Saturday's doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara pacing all conference programs in fielding percentage (.964) and fewest errors committed (44). Most recently, Cal Poly has committed just one error during its previous five games. Leading the way individually for Cal Poly is sophomore first baseman Madi Vogelsang, whose .993 fielding mark with just one error through 282 chances this season ranks as the fourth-best figure among Big West players. Senior left fielder Nora Sobczak, who has committed just one error in 88 opportunities, also ranks sixth among Big West performers with a .989 figure.

ONE AND DONE: Eleven of Cal Poly's 43 games – 26 percent – have been decided by one run with the Mustangs chalking up a 3-8 mark under the slimmest of margins. Cal Poly, which has prevailed during just one of its last seven one-run contests, has dropped all four Big West games decided by a solitary run.

MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2012: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Jenny Condon's eight-year tenure, Cal Poly has again contested one of the most competitive schedules in Division I softball during the 2012 campaign. In total, 11 of Cal Poly's opening 34 games occurred against programs ranked or receiving votes at some point this season in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll (ranking from date of game).

BIG WEST CONFERENCE RESHUFFLES THE DECK: Hawai'i, currently ranked No. 14 in the March 27 edition of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll, will join the Big West for the 2012-13 academic term while San Diego State will become a conference member prior to the 2014 season. Reigning Big West champion Pacific, however, will depart the Big West for the West Coast Conference prior to the 2013-14 term.

LOOKING AHEAD (MAY 7-13): Cal Poly completes 2012 regular season action when hosting UC Riverside for a three-game May 11-12 series at Bob Janssen Field. Under eighth-year head coach Jenny Condon, the Mustangs have dropped just one of seven series against the Highlanders and own a 16-5 edge versus UC Riverside since 2005. UC Riverside (20-27, 3-12), propping up the Big West standings for the second-straight season, hosts Cal State Northridge for a three-game May 5-6 series. Prior to Cal Poly's Saturday, May 12 season finale, the Mustang program will honor graduating seniors Nicole Lund and Nora Sobczak.

ETC.: The 14 runs scored by UCLA during both ends of a March 27 doubleheader matched a year-old program record for total runs conceded by Cal Poly. The 18 hits collected during the second game by UCLA, meanwhile, established a new opponent record … Cal Poly's 20-game road trip to open the season marked the third lengthiest away stretch in program history while a March 23 home opener marked the latest date on the calendar that the Mustangs contested their first game of the year at Bob Janssen Field … Cal Poly's 10-game home stand between March 23-April 1 ranked as the program's lengthiest home stretch in 18 Division I seasons … Cal Poly first and only victory when committing more errors than the opponent, drawing fewer walks, striking out more and trailing after the sixth inning came during a 4-3, 10-inning triumph at Fresno State (April 9) … the 10-inning victory at Fresno State was Cal Poly's lengthiest game since defeating Utah State, 4-3, in 13 innings (March 8, 2009) … the game at Fresno State also marked the first time under eighth-year head coach Jenny Condon that Cal Poly had played a non-conference game once starting its Big West schedule … Cal Poly's 7-2 victory against UC Davis (April 21) marked the program's 900th game at the Division I level (1995-present) … Pacific's April 28-29 sweep of the Mustangs marked the first time in four series and since the 2004 season that Cal Poly had lost a series in Stockton.