Freshman right-hander Sierra Hyland struck out 15 hitters over 11 1/3 innings in a doubleheader at the Mustang Classic on Saturday.
[follow id = “CPMustangSports”]
After winning its first two games in the Mustang Classic on Friday, the Cal Poly softball team was determined to stay unbeaten in front of a strong home crowd at Bob Janssen Field on Saturday.
Highlighted by excellent pitching from freshman right-hander Sierra Hyland, who allowed two hits and no runs in the first two games combined, the Mustangs defeated Stony Brook and Fairleigh Dickinson on the first day of the home-opening tournament on Friday. The same storyline would hold true for Saturday’s doubleheader.
In the first game, the Mustangs beat Stony Brook for the second time in two days, this time by a 3-1 final score. The Mustangs gave junior Chloe Wurst the start on the hill in the hopes of giving Friday’s starting pitcher Hyland a much-deserved break. Stony Brook had junior Allison Cukrov take the mound for a Sea Wolves team that already won one and lost two in the tournament entering the game.
The first inning yielded Stony Brook’s only run of the game, and in the second, a double from Cal Poly catcher Mariah Cochiolo would score senior Ashley Romano to tie the game, while a Romano sac fly in the third would give the Mustangs the lead.
“We really had some good at-bats and a lot of timely hitting, we kept putting pressure on the other team,” head coach Jenny Condon said.
Wurst, who was relieved by Sierra Hyland in the top of the third, would only allow a run in her two-plus innings of work for Cal Poly. Hyland would go on to pitch no-hit ball for the rest of the game.
“We are very confident in Sierra, she is going to have off days but she hasn’t so far this weekend … we know we always have a shot when she is in the circle,” Condon said.
Cal Poly would tack on another run in the bottom of the sixth after a Cochiolo home run to left field.
“It felt awesome,” Cochiolo said. “It was a pretty close game so we needed some runs.”
Cal Poly kept Hyland on the mound for her 3rd start in the past 4 games in the second game of the doubleheader against Sacramento State. Hyland impressed yet again, as she dominated Hornets hitters en route to pitching a complete game 6-1 win for the Mustangs. Cal Poly played as the away team in the game.
Hyland, leading hitter of the tournament so far for the Mustangs, hit a no-doubt home run in the top of the 1st.
Hyland was feeling good on the mound, too. Keeping Sac State hitters off balance throughout the course of the game, ultimately ending up with 11 strikeouts. While she was able to severely stunt the offensive production by the Hornets, Hyland maintains she still could have done better.
“Going into the game, I was throwing hard and I know that Mariah (Cochiolo) had my back,” Hyland said. “I wasn’t hitting the spots that I wanted to, but she was there to catch them so she helped me out.”
This attitude, Cochiolo said, is what sets the team apart from previous years.
“In my four years, this is the best team chemistry we have ever had, the girls get along and we can feed off each other,” Cochiolo said.
The Mustangs would score more runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings. Aided by timely hitting from junior Emily Ceccacci and senior Jillian Andersen, who each picked up at least one run, hit and RBI in the game.
The Hornets didnt go down without a fight. Sac State had a runner on second base in each of the last three innings, but Hyland quieted each rally with her knuckleball.
In pressure situations like that, Hyland said she isn’t one to overanalyze.
“I don’t really think too much,” Hyland said. “I like to just sing a song. Something I can repeat in my head.”
The Mustangs (11-9) look to carry the same tune today when they take on Santa Clara at 9 a.m. in the final day of the tournament.