TEMPE, Ariz. – Two starts, two no-hitters – this time a perfect game – and two nine-strikeout games for Sierra Hyland (above) as the Cal Poly softball team's senior righthander helped the Mustangs open Saturday action at the Arizona State-hosted Kajikawa Classic with an 8-0, five-inning victory versus Creighton. Hyland then earned the victory in Saturday's second game, tossing the final two innings with five strikeouts in a 2-1 triumph against Western Michigan.
During Saturday's opener versus Creighton (1-4), Hyland (3-0) – who set a new Cal Poly program record with her 91st career start – retired all 15 Jay hitters in order while throwing 76.8 percent of her 56 pitches for strikes. Hyland reached a full count just once versus a Creighton hitter. She struck out the side in the second by throwing just 11 pitches. In the fifth, she struck out two and threw just seven pitches.
With her nine strikeouts, Hyland pushed her career total to 708 to become just the second Cal Poly pitcher after Desarie Knipfer to record 700-plus career strikeouts. She also become just the ninth pitcher in Big West Conference history with 700-plus career strikeouts and now ranks eighth all-time.
Saturday's performance marked Hyland's fifth career no-hitter and second perfect game after performing the feat versus CSUN on March 29, 2014. She also tossed a nine-strikeout no-hitter during Cal Poly's 2-1, season-opening win versus Purdue on Friday.
Away from the circle, Cal Poly (4-0) notched all of the runs it required in the bottom of the first inning. With leadoff hitter and junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval having reached on a Creighton throwing error and junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar singling, senior left fielder Courtney Tyler pushed home the game's first run with a fielder's choice. Hyland then homered to center field to put Cal Poly up 4-0.
Cal Poly then produced the run-rule win in the fifth. Convissar led off the bottom half with her second career home run. With the bases loaded later in the inning, first baseman Megan Nordin brought home Tyler with a fielder's choice before freshman pinch runner Alyssa McKiernan scored on another Creighton throwing error. With Cal Poly leading 7-0, sophomore catcher Makenna Young closed the game by singling to left field to plate freshman pinch runner Erin Roloff.
During Saturday's second victory versus Western Michigan (1-3), Mustang freshman righthander Steffi Best – making her first collegiate start – shut out the Broncos and conceded just four hits through the first five innings.
Scoreless into the sixth, Cal Poly pushed across the winning runs in the bottom half with junior designated player Stephanie Heyward drawing a one-out walk before Tyler reached on a Western Michigan fielding error. With two Mustangs in scoring position, Hyland then delivered a triple to center field to place Cal Poly up 2-0.
Western Michigan pulled a run back in the top of the seventh following two Cal Poly errors, but, with the tying run on second base and two down, Hyland struck out Bronco designated player Abby Stoner – her 14th strikeout in seven innings Saturday – to preserve the win.
Cal Poly closes Kajikawa Classic action on Sunday, Feb. 12 versus No. 9 Oregon at 8 a.m. PT.