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Mustang Softball Comes Up Short in Doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.  – Junior center fielder Whitley Gerhart and sophomore first baseman Madi Vogelsang (above) each cracked solo home runs during the second game of a doubleheader at UC Santa Barbara's Campus Diamond on Saturday afternoon, but Gaucho first baseman Lauren Boser's single up the middle during the bottom of the eighth inning awarded the hosts a 5-4 victory. The Mustangs also dropped Saturday's opening contest, 4-1.

During Saturday's nightcap, the Mustangs (12-33, 4-13) banged out a season-high 13 hits – highlighted by a career-high four from senior left fielder Nora Sobczak – and thrice came from a run down to tie and eventually overtake UC Santa Barbara (26-28, 11-6) before ultimately falling by a solitary run for the ninth time this year.

Cal Poly advanced baserunners into scoring position during each of the first two innings, but it was UC Santa Barbara that opened the scoring through third baseman Jenessa Jeppesen's two-out, run-scoring base hit during the bottom of the second.

The first of Cal Poly's three responses was struck during the top of the third as Gerhart drove her fourth homer of 2012 to left center field. After UC Santa Barbara reaffirmed its lead during the bottom of the third through designated player Allison Taylor's bunt single, the Mustangs deadlocked the scoreline again as Vogelsang lashed her team-leading fifth homer of the season over the left field fence.

Once again, however, UC Santa Barbara managed to stay a run ahead with center fielder Jessica Soria dumping a two-out single into left field to score pinch runner DeJanee Moore for a 3-2 Gaucho advantage after four innings.

Not to be outdone again, Cal Poly knotted the score at 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Sobczak set up the scoring opportunity with a leadoff single. After advancing to second through a sacrifice bunt from freshman third baseman Celina Lafrades, Sobczak raced home from second on a single up the middle from Gerhart.  

The Mustangs required just another inning to grab their first lead of the game. With two out and runners at the corner bases, Gerhart came through for Cal Poly a third time by singling up the middle to score sophomore right fielder Cami Brown for a 4-3 advantage.

Cal Poly's leverage, however, lasted just an inning. Mustang starting righthander Jordan Yates (3-13) scattered eight hits through the opening six innings and induced flyouts from Gaucho second baseman Kathryn Pilpil and Taylor to open the seventh. With two out, however, UC Santa Barbara shortstop Keilani Jennings lofted a homer over the left center field fence to send the matchup into extra innings.

The Mustangs advanced sophomore third baseman Kim Westlund as far as second during the top of the eighth before the Gauchos sent Cal Poly to 3-9 in one-run games this year with Boser's single during the bottom half of the inning.

Westlund, Vogelsang and sophomore second baseman Jillian Andersen each collected two hits during Saturday's nightcap.

During Saturday's opening game, Mustang starting lefthander Chloe Wurst (4-14) retired UC Santa Barbara in order during the bottom of the first and Brown preserved a scoreless deadlock in the second by throwing out Jennings at home to close the inning.

Brown returned as Cal Poly's offensive spark during the top of the third as her leadoff double – indeed, her first collegiate two-bagger – was complimented by a two-out single through the right side of the infield by freshman third baseman Celina Lafrades.

The Mustangs, however, were able to hold their lead for just the half inning as Jeppesen opened the Gaucho half of the fourth by homering to center field to tie the game.

With the score deadlocked, UC Santa Barbara starting righthander Shelby Wisdom (20-14) set down Cal Poly in order during the fourth before helping the Gauchos wrest the lead during the bottom half of the inning. Jennings led off the frame with a single before a fielding error by Mustang sophomore catcher Mariah Cochiolo on an attempted sacrifice from Gaucho catcher Lainey DePompa placed runners at the corners. Wisdom followed with a run-scoring base hit to give the Gauchos the lead before left fielder McKenzie Kane furthered the advantage to 3-1 by singling home DePompa with two outs.

The Mustangs threatened just once more with Sobczak singling to open the sixth before reaching second through a Lafrades sacrifice. Wisdom, however, struck out Cochiolo before inducing an inning-ending groundout from Gerhart.

UC Santa Barbara capped the scoring during the bottom of the sixth with Soria singling into right field to plate Boser.

Sobczak finished with a Cal Poly-best two hits during Saturday's opener.

The Mustangs and Gauchos complete their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.