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Cal Poly Tops Maryland, Middle Tennessee to Open 2018 Season

Cal Poly Tops Maryland, Middle Tennessee to Open 2018 Season

LOS ANGELES – A three-RBI game by sophomore first baseman Hailey Martin (above) helped the Cal Poly softball program overturn an early deficit against Maryland as the Mustangs opened the 2018 season Friday morning and the UCLA-hosted Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament with a 4-3 triumph inside Easton Stadium. With freshman righthander Dakota Casper earning her first collegiate victory during the second game of Friday's doubleheader, Cal Poly completed the opening-day sweep with a 6-1 win versus Middle Tennessee.

During Friday's season opener against Maryland (0-1), senior righthander Lindsey Chalmers (1-0) struck out eight Terrapins in five and two-thirds innings of work. Maryland, however, struck the opening blow in the top of the first as second baseman Skylynne Ellazar produced a two-out solo home run. The Terrapins then added two more runs in the second for the 3-0 advantage.

Held without a hit during the opening two innings, Cal Poly tied the matchup with a three-run third. After Maryland starting righthander Ryan Denhart hit Mustang sophomore second baseman Alyssa McKiernan and walked freshman left fielder Noellah Ramos to begin the bottom half, senior shortstop Chelsea Convissar singled to load the bases. Two batters later, Martin singled up the middle to score McKiernan and Ramos. Convissar then scored on a fielding error by Maryland shortstop Mikayla Werahiko on a grounder by junior right fielder Crimson Kaiser – a miscue that tied the game, 3-3.

Two innings later, Martin placed Cal Poly into the 4-3 lead with a two-out single that scored Convissar.

In the circle, Chalmers – an NFCA All-Region selection in 2017 – struck out a pair of Terrapins in both the first and third innings and scattered six hits before being lifted with two down in the sixth for sophomore righthander Steffi Best. Best faced five Terrapins without a hit to earn her first career save.

During Friday's second victory versus Middle Tennessee (0-1), Cal Poly latched onto a 3-0 lead during the bottom of the first inning through a run-scoring single from senior third baseman Stephanie Heyward before sophomore designated player Shelby Jeffries earned her first collegiate RBI with a two-out, two run double.

The Blue Raiders grabbed a run back in the top half of the second off of Casper, whose throwing error with two Middle Tennessee baserunners in scoring position allowed catcher Morgan Harris to reach home. Casper, however, stranded the bases loaded to close the second and, despite conceding four more hits during the next three innings, kept the Blue Raiders to just the one run. She struck out three without a walk in five innings.

Offensively, Cal Poly pushed its lead to 5-1 in the second after Ramos scored on a throwing error by Harris behind the plate before Heyward singled through the left side of the infield with two down to bring home Convissar.

Cal Poly added a final run in the sixth through a second Blue Raiders throwing error.

Jeffries tossed the final two innings for Cal Poly, striking out two without allowing a walk or hit.

Cal Poly continues Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament action on Saturday, Feb. 10 versus No. 5 UCLA (12 noon) and Maryland (5 p.m.).