The Mustangs came into the season without standout pitcher Anna Cahn, who graduated from the program after becoming the first player in program history to be selected to an All-Big West team in each of her four seasons. Then they lost junior star Rebecca Patton, who went down with a season-ending hip injury.
With those losses and countless other injuries, the Cal Poly softball team struggled through the 2012 softball season.
It started that way right off the bat, as the Mustangs dropped their first three games in the season-opening Kajikawa Classic before getting their first win of the season in a 3-0 victory against Texas Tech. But Cal Poly dropped four of its next five games, with the win coming in a 14-7 win over Nebraska.
The Mustangs then reeled off three straight victories, defeating New Mexico 4-2, Charlotte 3-2 and St. Joseph’s 6-4. Patton pitched the first two wins, pitching 14 innings to give up a combined four runs with 16 strikeouts.
Cal Poly would drop four of its next five games before dropping seven straight games to end non-conference play.
To start Big West play, it was the same story. The Mustangs dropped two of three games to Cal State Fullerton to start off their conference schedule, defeating the Titans 4-1 in the second game of the series.
The Mustangs dropped three games to Long Beach State, but then battled back to take two of three games against Cal State Northridge to win their next series. In the first win, Jordan Yates pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits in a 3-1 victory. She got help at the plate from Madi Vogelsang, who homered to left in the fourth inning. In the second win, the Mustangs combined for three runs in the fourth inning to upend the Matadors, 4-1.
Cal Poly, however, would drop two of three games to UC Davis, three games to Pacific and three games to UC Santa Barbara over the next three series.
The Mustangs answered with a 6-5 win in the opener of their final series of the year against UC Riverside. Trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Celina Lafrades scored with two outs off a fielding error at second base to send the game into extra innings.
Two innings later, UC Riverside scored three runs to take a 5-2 lead and move three outs away from a victory. But the Mustangs answered in a big way — Whitley Gerhart hit a RBI single to left center and both Nora Sobczak and Jillian Andersen drew bases-loaded walks to tie the game at 5-5.
That set the stage for Kim Westlund, who hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to give the Mustangs their final win of the season.
Westlund led the team in batting average this year, hitting .322 with a team-high 25 RBIs. Sobczak followed with a .283 batting average to go with her four doubles, and Gerhart hit a third-best .258 with four home runs.
Vogelsang led the team with five home runs and had 14 RBIs.
The Mustangs will lose just two seniors to graduation this offseason, Nicole Lund and Sobczak, and will come into next year with a total of 11 upperclassmen — five seniors and six juniors — on the roster next year.