SAN LUIS OBISPO – Senior righthander Sierra Hyland tossed all 12 innings of the Cal Poly softball program's series opener versus Long Beach State Friday afternoon, but the 49ers pushed across two runs in the top half of the 12th to edge the Mustangs at Bob Janssen Field, 2-0. Despite a career high 10-strikeout performance from junior righthander Lindsey Chalmers in game No. 2, Cal Poly fell once more in nine innings, 1-0.
During Friday's opener, which featured 400 pitches, 87 at-bats and 30 stranded baserunners, the Mustangs (28-12, 4-4) were held to one hit through the opening four innings by Long Beach State starting righthander Cielo Meza. After earning four early walks and seeing three Mustangs struck with pitches, Cal Poly managed to strand the bases loaded to close the third and fourth innings. Junior third baseman Stephanie Heyward drew a leadoff walk to begin the fifth, but Cal Poly's third scoring threat in as many innings was curtailed after Hyland lined into a double play.
In the circle, Hyland (17-7) failed to allow a Long Beach State baserunner past second until the fifth inning, when pinch hitter Jessica Flores drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Hyland, however, forced a fielder's choice from left fielder Hannah Cookson to work out of the jam before retiring Long Beach State in order during the sixth.
Into the seventh, Hyland conceded two hits during the top half but, with a pair of Long Beach State baserunners in scoring position, she induced a flyout from Flores (3-5) – who tossed the final eight innings in relief – to keep the matchup at 0-0. In the bottom half of the seventh, a fielder's choice from Mustang left fielder Courtney Tyler pushed Heyward to third base with two down, but freshman first baseman Hailey Martin grounded out to send the matchup to extra innings.
Both pitchers retired the other side in order in the eighth and each stranded the bases loaded during their respective ninth-inning appearances.
Hyland set down Long Beach State in order during the 10th and 11th before Long Beach State broke the stalemate in the top of the 12th with shortstop Nicole Fry and first baseman Julia Lombardi contributing run-scoring singles.
Cal Poly was retired in order during the bottom half of the 12th.
During Cal Poly's lengthiest game since falling to Iowa State 4-3 in 12 innings (Feb. 28, 2015) and longest home game since dropping a 2-1, 12-inning decision to CSUN (March 29, 2014), Hyland struck out five against three walks and tossed a career high 215 pitches.
During Friday's second matchup, Chalmers (10-5) stranded two Long Beach State baserunners to close the top half of the first before leaving the bases loaded in the second. She then retired 12 of the next 14 hitters faced, holding Long Beach State to just one hit between the third and sixth innings.
Offensively, Cal Poly placed baserunners on versus Long Beach State starting righthander Christina Clermont (9-8) during five of the first six innings. Cal Poly, however, stranded the bases loaded to close the first and remained scoreless despite producing leadoff hits to begin the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
Chalmers returned in the top of the seventh to strike out two Long Beach State hitters and match her career high for strikeouts in the regulation seven innings with nine. Cal Poly, however, was set down in order to close the seventh.
Long Beach State (18-20-1, 6-2) eventually produced the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth with Flores – playing in right field – driving home 49ers second baseman LT Torres with a two-out single through the right side of the infield.
Both sides each stranded 11 baserunners in the second game.