RIVERSIDE – Senior Sierra Hyland threw her 100th career complete game on Friday afternoon, but unleashed a two-out wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning that allowed UC Riverside third baseman Shylene Helms to score as the Highlanders produced a 2-1, come-from-behind win versus the Mustangs at Amy S. Harrison Field.
Having produced five hits during the regulation innings, Cal Poly (33-18, 9-10) broke through with Friday's opening run in the top of the eighth. With two down and junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval having reached through a fielder's choice, junior third baseman Stephanie Heyward produced an infield single. Hyland then lined a base hit up the middle of the infield to bring home Sandoval for a brief 1-0 lead.
Hyland (above) chalked up two quick outs to open the bottom half of the eighth before UC Riverside catcher Jenae Lockwood singled to center field. The ball was mishandled by Sandoval and the error allowed Lockwood to go to reach second base. Pinch hitter Stephanie Tickemeyer followed with a game-tying triple.
Cal Poly was retired in order during the top of the ninth and in the bottom half, UC Riverside received a Helms leadoff single. After a successful sacrifice bunt from left fielder Danielle Ortega, Hyland intentionally walked center fielder Jenna Curtan. A groundout by right fielder Madeline Richard moved both UC Riverside baserunners into scoring position and, with two down, Hyland unfurled the wild pitch that led to the decisive run.
Hyland, who struck out four, became just the third pitcher in 33 years of Big West Conference softball to reach 900-plus career innings pitched and now stands at 903.0
With Friday loss, Cal Poly was knocked out of second place in the Big West standings and into a three-way tie for fourth alongside UC Riverside (27-23, 9-10) and CSUN (29-22, 9-10).
Cal Poly closes its 53-game regular season schedule and its three-game series versus UC Riverside with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, May 13.