Defending Big West Champion Cal Poly (14-17, 3-2) secured its first conference series victory of the season and picked up a pair of Blue-Green Rivalry points with a doubleheader sweep of UCSB (9-27, 0-5) on Saturday at Campus Diamond.
Despite leaving a total of 21 runners stranded across the two games, the Mustangs came out on top by way of 7-2 and 5-0 scores.
The athletics rivalry between UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly has grown in recent years, and now the schools plan to put their competition to good use.
As the Gauchos and Mustangs battle it out on the field, diamond, court, and in the pool, the Big West rivals will seek to make fans and students aware of their campuses’ recycling and sustainability efforts. The eco-slant to the rivalry fits the colors of sustainability (blue and green) as well as those of UCSB (blue) and Cal Poly (green).
The Blue-Green Rivalry is based on the results of the 16 common sports that the schools compete in. To see the points system and updated rivalry standings, click here.
The creative angle of using games to promote the campuses’ sustainability and recycling efforts is the first of its kind in college athletics. To learn more about sustainability efforts at UCSB, click here.
Cal Poly scored first in game one when Dana Perez hit a two-out RBI single to center field driving Kendal Hennings home. The Mustangs stretched their lead in the second with another two-out rally. After Whitley Gerhart walked, then advanced to second on a base hit by Hennings, Nora Sobczak hit a single to center driving Gerhart home to give Cal Poly the 2-0 advantage.
In the third, Jessica Ziegler led off with a bunt single, moved to second on a single by Jamie Adishian and then reached third after a ground out. McWhirter grounded out to second base on the next play, driving home the first Gaucho run.
UCSB then tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when single up the middle by Ziegler sent Keilani Jennings home.
The game remained deadlocked until the top of the sixth when Hennings led off with a solo homer over the center field fence. Sobczak followed with an infield base hit and Krysten Cary reached on a Gaucho fielding error in the outfield to put two Mustangs on with no outs. Back-to-back walks by Stephanie Correia and Trista Thomas overloaded the bases and stretched the Cal Poly lead to two. Lindsey Correa came in to relieve MeLinda Matsumoto in the circle, but was unable to stop the Mustang’s onslaught as she gave up a three-RBI double to Shea Williams on her first pitch.
UCSB was unable to rally back from the deficit, falling 7-2 to Cal Poly.
In the loss, UCSB tied the Mustangs with 11 runners stranded and outhit its foe, 10-8.
Matsumoto (4-10) suffered the loss after tossing 5.2 innings. She allowed seven hits and all seven runs were credited to her, though just three were earned. She walked seven and fanned two. Correa pitched 1.1 innings and allowed just one hit.
At the plate, Ziegler led the way going 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Allison Taylor and Beristianos each tallied a pair of hits.
During the second game of the twin bill, the Mustangs started their ace, Anna Cahn, in the circle. Cahn went the distance, tossing a complete game two-hitter with no walks and five strikeouts.
Correa earned the start for the Gauchos and was able to keep the Mustangs off the scoreboard through the first three innings.
At the top of the fourth, Cal Poly’s offense finally broke through when Hennings hit a two-run homer over the left field fence. One out later, Cary belted one of her own to left center, putting the Mustangs ahead, 3-0.
Correa bounced back and earned the third out of the inning a walk later. The senior proceeded to retire the next six batters in order.
After Cary led-off with a walk at the top of the seventh, Krista Cobb came in to relieve Correa. The sophomore struggled though, walking Cahn before giving up a base-loading single to left field to Sarah Kryza. A double down the left field line by Capri Ruiz scored two more Mustang runs and put Cal Poly ahead, 5-0. It was the last hit of the game as Cobb earned three consecutive outs to escape the inning.
Correa (3-9) suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs on seven hits while walking four.
The Gauchos will look to capture their first conference win on Sunday as the series with Cal Poly concludes at noon at Campus Diamond.