The Cal Poly softball team kicked off its 2017 season with a 4-1 record in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona. The team played two games on Friday and Saturday and finished with a Sunday morning game against no. 9 Oregon.
Friday began with a morning game against Purdue followed by an afternoon game against the University of San Diego.
Against Purdue in the first game of the year, senior pitcher Sierra Hyland threw a no-hitter in a 2-1 win. Hyland struck out nine hitters in seven innings to earn her first win this season and the fourth no-hitter of her career.
Junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the first to give Cal Poly a 1-0 lead. Sophomore right fielder Crimson Kaiser doubled down left field to score sophomore catcher Makenna Young in the second inning to extend the lead to 2-0.
Purdue wouldn’t be shut out, though, as the Boilermakers scored an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning on an error.
Against University of San Diego, the Mustangs used prolific offense to get an 8-6 win against the Toreros.
The Mustangs traded runs with the Toreros in the first inning as Sandoval hit a solo home run before Torero left fielder Taylor Spence scored an unearned run.
After a scoreless second inning, junior utility Stephanie Heyward hit a two-run home run, scoring herself and junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar to open up a 3-1 lead for the Mustangs. Again, the Toreros responded, as second baseman Hannah Gilliland hit a three-RBI home run in the bottom of the third to go up 4-3.
The Mustangs’ offense opened the game up in the top of the fourth as senior second baseman Ashley Tornio doubled to score Young, tying the game 4-4. Sandoval then hit a two-run double to plate Tornio and Kaiser and extend the lead before Heyward singled to score Sandoval and push the advantage to 7-4.
The Toreros almost came back, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 7-6.
However, between Young scoring a solo home run in the top of the seventh and Hyland coming in to post a one-hitter in the final two innings, the Mustangs closed out the first day of the Kajikawa Classic with a pair of wins.
Following an impressive Friday sweep, the Mustangs continued their hot start with an 8-0 win versus Creighton Saturday morning before beating Western Michigan 2-1 Saturday afternoon.
Against Creighton, Hyland earned her second win in spectacular fashion, following her no-hitter Friday morning with a perfect game.
The Mustangs wasted no time getting an early lead. Sandoval scored an unearned run in the first inning before Hyland hit a three-run home run to push the lead to 4-0.
With Hyland nullifying the Bluejays’ offense, the Mustangs extended the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Convissar hit a solo home run before Tyler scored on a fielder’s choice and freshman infielder Alyssa McKiernan scored an unearned run on the same play. Young then singled to left field to score freshman outfielder Erin Roloff and cap off the game with eight runs for the Mustangs.
Against Western Michigan, the Mustangs were held scoreless in the first five innings in a 0-0 deadlock. Hyland, as she did against Creighton, used offense to help the Mustangs take the lead. She hit a triple in the bottom of the sixth to score Tyler and Heyward and give Cal Poly a 2-0 lead.
Hyland came in to pitch the sixth inning in relief for freshman pitcher Steffi Best and all the Broncos could muster was an unearned run in the top of the seventh, giving Cal Poly a 2-1 win for their fourth in a row.
Sunday morning was the Mustangs’ first matchup against a ranked opponent. Oregon handed Cal Poly a 3-1 loss, its first of the season.
After two scoreless innings from both teams, the Ducks took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Jenna Lilley hit a two-run single. They extended the lead in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Alexis Mack to make it 3-0.
In the seventh inning, Heyward singled to right field causing Sandoval to score an unearned run, but the Mustangs couldn’t complete the comeback. The Mustangs’ offense went 4 for 25. Hyland struck out five but gave up six hits and three runs in her first loss in the circle this year.
The Mustangs (4-1) travel to Cathedral City, Calif. next weekend to play another five games over three days in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.