FRESNO – The Cal Poly softball team overcame a five-run fifth inning from Idaho State by scoring three times in the sixth to slide past the Bengals during the second game of a Saturday doubleheader at the Fresno State-hosted Bulldog Classic, 7-5. During Saturday's opening game versus No. 16 Minnesota, however, Mustang senior righthander Sierra Hyland struck out four hitters without a walk, but the 12th-ranked Golden Gophers pushed across two runs in the top of the eighth inning to edge the Mustangs, 3-1.
During Saturday's second game versus Idaho State (2-5), Cal Poly (7-6) trailed 5-4 entering the bottom half of the sixth inning before a two-run single from Hyland scored juniors Stephanie Heyward (above) and Amanda Sandoval for a 6-5 Mustang advantage. An Idaho State fielding error later in the inning brought home senior left fielder Courtney Tyler and, during the top of the seventh, Mustang junior reliever Lindsey Chalmers (3-2) struck out two Bengals en route to preserving Cal Poly's lead and victory.
Cal Poly built an initial 2-0 lead in the third inning as Sandoval doubled in junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar before Hyland singled to center field to bring home Sandoval.
The Mustangs then doubled their lead in the fourth with Heyward and Tyler contributing run-scoring hits.
Cal Poly starting freshman righthander Steffi Best struck out a pair of Bengals hitters in four and two-thirds innings, but was knocked from the circle after conceding four of Idaho State's five runs – including a bases-clearing triple by right fielder Haley Harrison.
Chalmers though, earned the win in Cal Poly's first victory of the Bulldog Classic after allowing just two hits in two and one-thirds innings.
During Saturday's opener versus No. 12 Minnesota (13-0), the Golden Gophers scored the game's opening run as catcher Kendyl Lindaman homered to center field to lead off the second inning.
Cal Poly, however, equalized during the bottom half of the inning. Senior left fielder Courtney Tyler led off with a single through the left side of the infield. She then moved to second base after Hyland successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt and third through a groundout by sophomore catcher Makenna Young. Then next Mustang, sophomore first baseman Megan Nordin, then reached on an error by Minnesota third baseman Danielle Parlich and the miscue allowed Tyler to score.
Hyland (4-4) held Minnesota to two hits during the next four innings and, in the seventh, stranded two Golden Gophers to keep the matchup at a stalemate.
Offensively, Cal Poly couldn't capitalize on Minnesota errors in the sixth and seventh innings, failing to move a baserunner past second during the remainder of the regulation innings.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect to begin the eighth inning, Minnesota pushed across the eventual winning runs through a two-out, run-scoring single from Parlich and an RBI double by designated player Maddie Houlihan.
Cal Poly began the bottom half of the eighth with senior pinch runner Shawna McDonough on second base but, following a sacrifice bunt from senior second baseman Ashley Tornio, the remaining two Mustangs grounded out to end the matchup.
Cal Poly completes Bulldog Classic action on Sunday, Feb. 26 versus Fresno State at 11:30 a.m.