CATHEDRAL CITY – Senior righthander Sierra Hyland matched her career high by striking out 15 Liberty hitters in a complete-game, four-hitter as the Cal Poly softball program began a Sunday doubleheader at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a 9-2 triumph versus the Flames. Cal Poly completed the two-game sweep in the afternoon as the Mustangs scored in every inning en route to an 11-3, five-inning win versus Utah Valley.
During Sunday's opening matchup versus Liberty, Hyland (4-2) conceded the only runs she allowed in the top of the first inning as Flames shortstop Amber Bishop hit a two-run homer.
Cal Poly (6-3) stranded the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning and left two on to close the second before pushing across the eventual winning runs with a five-run third inning. With junior designated player Stephanie Heyward on third base and senior left fielder Courtney Tyler (above) on second, Hyland scored Cal Poly's first run with a double. Two batters later, freshman first baseman Hailey Martin scored Tyler and senior pinch runner Shawna McDonough with a single through the left side of the infield. The next batter, sophomore catcher Makenna Young, then swatted a two-run homer to provide the Mustangs a 5-2 lead.
The Mustangs tacked on a sixth run in the fourth inning as Hyland singled to score junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar. Cal Poly added the final three runs in the sixth as Tyler produced a run-scoring double ahead of Hyland contributing a two-RBI double.
After surrendering Liberty's two runs in the first inning, Hyland allowed just two hits the remainder of the game. Hyland, who became Cal Poly's career innings pitched leader on Friday by passing All-America selection Desarie Knipfer, didn't walk a Liberty batter.
Hyland had struck out 15 hitters in a game three previous times, most recently during a no-hitter versus Saint Peter's on March 3, 2016.
During Sunday's second victory versus Utah Valley, Cal Poly leapt to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Hyland singled up the middle to bring home Tyler and Convissar.
The Mustangs then doubled their lead in the second with Convissar doubling to score sophomore rightfielder Sydney James and Heyward singling to bring home Convissar.
Two Utah Valley errors contributed to a three-run Cal Poly third inning. Martin picked up her third RBI of Sunday by singling to score Heyward in the fourth for an 8-3 Mustang lead. Cal Poly then added three runs in the fifth for the run-rule victory, an effort capped by a two-run single up the middle from Tyler.
In the circle, starting freshman righthander Shelby Jeffries – making her first career start – tossed the opening two innings for Cal Poly and conceded two runs. Junior righthanded reliever Lindsey Chalmers (2-1) earned the victory after pitching the final three innings and struck out three hitters against one run and zero walks.
Cal Poly continues action with five games at the Feb. 23-26 Fresno State-hosted Bulldog Classic. The Mustangs open play with a 7 p.m. matchup versus No. 21 Fresno State on Thursday, Feb. 23.