SAN LUIS OBISPO – Senior righthander Sierra Hyland struck out 16 Northern Colorado hitters in eight innings Wednesday afternoon and became the Cal Poly softball program's all-time leader with her 86th career complete game as the Mustangs opened a doubleheader with a 2-1 victory. Cal Poly completed the sweep with a 5-0 decision in game No. 2 as junior righthander Lindsey Chalmers matched a career high with nine strikeouts in a three-hit victory.
During Wednesday's opening win, Hyland (10-5) allowed a leadoff hit to Northern Colorado shortstop Erica Dick before striking out the final two Bears in the first. She struck out the Northern Colorado side in the second before conceding the game's opening run with one down in the top of the third as Dick doubled to plate right fielder Cheyenne Talmadge.
Hyland recovered to strike out Northern Colorado first baseman Rachel Johnson to close the third before striking out two more Bears in the top of the fourth. She added another strikeout in the fifth, two more in the sixth, struck out the side in the seventh and kept the game at a stalemate with another two in the eighth.
Offensively, Cal Poly equalized Northern Colorado (9-18) in the bottom of the fourth as junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar led off with a base hit before junior third baseman Stephanie Heyward and Hyland both laid down bunts in front of Bears catcher Adeline Coldiron. With the bases loaded, Northern Colorado attempted to pick off Convissar during the next Mustang at-bat, but a throw home from Bears third baseman Jordan Wiatrak skipped past Coldiron and allowed Cal Poly to tie the matchup 1-1.
The Mustangs stranded six baserunners during the final four regulation innings before pushing across the winning run in the eighth. With the international tiebreaker rule in effect and Convissar starting on second base, Heyward grounded out to move the winning run within 60 feet. Hyland then supplied the game-winning blow with a single up the middle.
With her complete-game, three-hit effort, Hyland surpassed All-America selection Desarie Knipfer (1995-98) for most complete games in program history. Hyland's 16-strikeout effort marked a new collegiate single-game high (her career high in a regulation seven-inning game is 15 strikeouts).
With the 16 strikeouts, Hyland improved her career total to 822 and now requires just 25 more strikeouts to overtake UC Santa Barbara's Jennifer Davis (2004-07) for the all-time Big West Conference lead.
During Wednesday's second victory, Chalmers (7-2) opened the game by striking out two Northern Colorado hitters in the top of the first and Cal Poly pushed across three runs during the bottom half of the inning with run-scoring triples by Heyward and sophomore right fielder Crimson Kaiser sandwiching an RBI base hit by senior left fielder Courtney Tyler.
Cal Poly tacked on a fourth run in the bottom of the third with sophomore right fielder Crimson Kaiser depositing a single down the left field line to bring home Heyward.
The Mustangs then went up 5-0 in the fourth as Convissar lined a two-out single through the left side of the infield to score senior center fielder Amanda Sandoval.
In the circle, Chalmers – who lowered her season ERA to 0.62 – retired 11 of the opening 12 hitters she faced. After allowing a leadoff single to begin the sixth, she set down the final six Bears in order. She walked just one hitter while throwing 71 percent of her 105 pitches for strikes.
Winners of 12 of its last 13 games, Cal Poly continues play at the March 17-19 Loyola Marymount Tournament. The Mustangs open their five-game stretch on Friday, March 17 versus No. 9 Oklahoma (8 a.m.) and Dartmouth (12 noon).